12/17/2015 5:06PM

Ziadie, facing suspension, to argue that evidence inadmissable

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Kirk Ziadie, the Florida trainer who is facing a potential six-year suspension for medication violations, will contest a hearing officer’s recommendation of the penalty by claiming that evidence in the case was inadmissible, his attorney said on Thursday.

The attorney, Bradford Beilly, said the results of frozen urine samples from horses trained by Ziadie that were retested for drugs should be discarded because management personnel at the testing laboratory were told that some of the urine samples came from Ziadie’s horses. Beilly said the disclosure of the source of the urine violated the state’s “anonymity rule” for testing samples.

Ziadie has 15 days from the release of the administrative hearing officer’s recommendation to file exceptions to the decision. The hearing officer’s decision was released Wednesday. The state’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering then will have 10 days from the filing of the exceptions to file its own response, after which the division will render a final decision in the case.

“Our course of action is to take exception to the administrative hearing officer’s report and claim that the urine evidence is inadmissible,” Beilly said.

In the report released Wednesday, Administrative Law Judge F. Scott Boyd recommended that Ziadie be suspended for six years and fined $18,000 for 18 separate violations of medication rules over the past four years. Most of the violations were for the regulated drug clenbuterol, a bronchodilator that can be used to build muscle mass when administered regularly to horses.

In the case of the urine samples that were retested, Boyd said the lab personnel who handled the samples for the purposes of retesting were not made privy to the source of the samples, and therefore the results were not compromised.

“Allowing the identity of the trainer to be known by the top echelon of laboratory personnel was a violation of the [anonymity] rule, but it did not affect the fairness of the proceedings or the correctness of the results,” Boyd wrote. “Under all circumstances, this failure to strictly follow the rule was harmless error.”

Ziadie, who led the Gulfstream Park spring meeting with 22 wins, has not started a horse since his license expired in the summer. The Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering refused to renew the license at that time, basing its decision specifically on three pending medication violations from the 2015 Gulfstream Park meet.

Ziadie had separately petitioned the Office of Administrative Hearings to have his license reinstated, and late in November, the same judge who wrote the decision in the medication case recommended that the division issue a license to the trainer. In that decision, Boyd wrote that the state did not follow its chain-of-custody rules for the blood samples that tested positive from this year’s Gulfstream Park meet, meaning that the division’s decision to deny the license renewal rested on evidence that was inadmissible.

The division is not expected to rule on Boyd’s recommendation on the license matter until early in 2016. Until then, Ziadie will be unable to start horses.