By Ray Paulick
Trainer Kirk Ziadie is fighting an Aug. 26 decision by the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering to deny his occupational license application because of what the regulatory agency said were three medication violations – two overages of phenylbutazone and one clenbuterol positive – earlier this year.
Ziadie, who won at a 49 percent clip (22 wins from 45 starts) to be leading trainer at the 2015 spring Gulfstream Park meeting, was notified of the license denial by letter from Jonathan R. Zachem, director of the Department of Business and Professional Regulations’ Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering. Zachem cited the three alleged positives, all at Gulfstream Park: Acclaimed Racing Stable’s Get Creative, winner of the third race on Feb. 6, was found to have a concentration of phenylbutazone at 3.4 micrograms per milliliter, compared with a threshold of 2 micrograms per milliliter; Averill Racing LLC’s At Large, winner of the first race April 24, tested at 2.3 micrograms per milliliter for phenylbutazone; and Averill Racing LLC’s Creative License, winner of the seventh race May 9, was found to have a concentration of 8.9 picograms per milliliter of clenbuterol. Phenylbutazone is a class 4 drug and clenbuterol class 3 drug under the Association of Racing Commissioners International’s Uniform Classification Guidelines.
Under Chapter 550 of Florida statute, “and the rules promulgated thereto,” Zachem wrote, “the division may deny … any occupational license if the applicant for or holder thereof has violated the provisions of this chapter or the rules of the division…”
Ziadie has five other pending clenbuterol positives and one phenylbutazone overage in 2012 filed against him that his attorney, Bradford Beilly, is contesting on his behalf. In addition, Ziadie has been charged with 13 clenbuterol positives in 2013 and three phenylbutazone overages in 2014, according to an administrative complaint.
An administrative hearing on those cases, which began in August, is scheduled to continue this week in a Broward County courtroom. According to court records, Drs. Thomas Tobin and David Barker were to testify as expert witnesses on Ziadie’s behalf.
Beilly has petitioned the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings for an evidentiary hearing on the license denial. Beilly said that on May 29, 2015, Ziadie submitted a “fully complete license renewal application” that was due to expire on June 30. The Pari-Mutuel Division took no action on the renewal and allowed the license to expire, Beilly said, waiting nearly three months after his renewal application was filed to deny him a license.
“The denial affects petitioner’s substantial interests as he cannot earn a living as a horse trainer without an occupational license issued by the Division,” Beilly wrote.
Beilly said Ziadie is disputing “the alleged fact that the blood samples tested actually came from horses trained by petitioner Ziadie. Petitioner Ziadie also disputes the implicitly alleged fact that the blood samples were properly collected, stored and tested” in accordance with the rules.
Furthermore, Ziadie is alleging, the regulators are relying on a 28-page document from 2010, titled “Equine Detention Barn Manual,” that was never properly adopted by the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.”
“Accordingly … the alleged test results from Feb. 6, 2015, April 24, 2015, and May 9, 2015, are not violations of Fla. Statu. 550.2415(1)(a) and the Division should therefore grant Petitioner Ziadie’s application for a pari-mutuel professional individual occupational license.
Ziadie, who has been training since 2002, has 762 career wins from 2,716 starts, and his horses have earned nearly $14.5 million. He’s won training titles at Tampa Bay Downs, Calder Race Course and Gulfstream. He’s also had numerous medication violations and was banned by Calder race course from 2009-11.
Sally Mitchelhill, a former exercise rider for Ziadie who was a full-time jockey in 2007, winning 58 races from 603 mounts, has taken over Ziadie’s stable. She has won four races, with nine seconds and seven thirds, from 42 starts since July 1.