The board of directors of the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association has sent Sheikh Mohammed, the ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mansour, chairman of the Emirates Racing Association, an official position statement on the disqualification of Brass Hat from his second-place finish in this year's $6-million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), and has asked the association to reconsider its position.
Brass Hat, owned by Fred Bradley and trained by his son, William "Buff" Bradley, both members of the Kentucky HBPA, was disqualified for a methylprednisolone positive. The Bradley family's appeal of the disqualification was denied, and they lost the $1.2-million second-place check.
The National HBPA board discussed the situation at its summer convention in July in Minnesota and on Aug. 1 sent a cover letter and the official position statement to officials in Dubai. It reads as follows:
"The board now wishes to record its deep regret and concern with regard to the matter of the disqualification of Brass Hat from second place in the 2006 Dubai World Cup under circumstances in which two long-time members in good standing of the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent & Protective Association scrupulously obeyed the Dubai Rules of Racing provided by the Emirates Racing Authority and all additional guidelines presented to them prior to the race.
"In January, the trainer of Brass Hat, Mr. William "Buff" Bradley, and the owner, (former Kentucky senator) Fred Bradley, were invited to nominate Brass Hat for the 2006 Dubai World Cup by a Kentucky representative of the Emirates Racing Authority, whose nomination was soon accepted.
"The Kentucky representative of the ERA provided the Bradleys with the therapeutic medication guidelines titled "Dubai Equine Hospital Medication Withdrawals", which documents very clearly the permitted medications for racing in Dubai, as well as explicit and unequivocal directions as to the latest times before racing that these medications should be administered to a competing horse. This document also stipulated that there are "no routine intra-articular injections of transit horses arriving in Dubai for a particular race," so "please have this work done before shipping and be aware of withdrawl(sic) times."
"Because the published Dubai Equine Hospital Medication Withdrawals specifically recognize "routine intra-articular injections" and require that they be performed "before shipping," the Bradleys elected to treat Brass Hat with said "routine intra-articular injections" of methylprednisolone, which were administered as indicated by a licensed veterinarian, "intra-articularly," in therapeutic amounts, a full 28 days before the March 25, 2006, Dubai World Cup, which to the Bradleys' credit represented a full five days in excess of the stipulated 23-day withdrawal time, thereby conservatively exceeding the 23-day figure set forth in the Dubai Equine Hospital Medication Withdrawals, which clearly stipulated that the "guidelines have, through experience, shown to be safe withdrawals in the UAE."
"In the Dubai Equine Hospital Medication Withdrawals, the 23-day time for 'Methyl Prednislone(sic) Acetate I.A.' is specifically listed as 'OK,' with no caveats whatsoever. Given that this lack of caveats in the Dubai Equine Hospital Medication Withdrawals and the confident statements in the document that the 'guidelines have, through experience, shown to be safe withdrawals in the UAE,' and the 23-day time for 'Methyl Prednislone(sic) Acetate I.A.' is specifically listed as OK without any qualification whatsoever, would suggest to reasonable and prudent horsemen such as the Bradleys, and indeed to any horseman, that the withdrawal document provided by the ERA could be relied upon.
"The Bradleys, in ongoing discussions with other horsemen, equine veterinarians, racing professionals, and ERA representatives, were never at any time given any indication whatsoever that their treatment of Brass Hat was anything other than completely within the rules, guidelines, medication policies and practices, and analytical capabilities, either as presented or applied by the ERA.
"Review of the scientific and regulatory literature from the early 1980s until the present time shows that methylprednisolone can remain detectable in equine urine for longer periods than 23 days. As such, the statement concerning a 23-day methylprednisolone withdrawal in the Dubai Equine Hospital Medication Withdrawals requires that the sensitivity of testing for methylprednisolone be restricted to permit the authority to make such a definitive 23-day withdrawal time statement.
"Despite the Bradleys scrupulous adherence to the medication guidelines and rules presented to them, Brass Hat was nonetheless 'called positive' for methylprednisolone and disqualified from second place in the 2006 Dubai World Cup, representing the largest monetary disqualification ever in the history of racing. Once again, this disqualification occurred despite the explicit assurances contained in the Dubai Equine Hospital Medication Withdrawals that the guidelines 'have, through experience, shown to be safe withdrawals in the UAE.'
"Therefore, the full board of directors of the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association deem that the punitive actions taken by the Emirates Racing Authority, which include the $1.2 million loss of purse and in addition the $5,400 fine of the trainer William 'Buff' Bradley, despite clear and convincing evidence presented to the ERA indicating that the Bradleys had in fact complied with the ERA's published racing rules and communicated guidelines, is contrary to the standards and practices observed throughout the international racing industry.
"All members of the board unanimously join to urge the Emirates Racing Authority to reconsider both its position on the Brass Hat disqualification and its published rules of racing and testing procedures to ensure that all horsemen are treated fairly and can rely on a 'level playing field' when invited to participate in important racing events such as the Dubai World Cup and;
"Be it finally resolved that the secretary of the National HBPA on behalf of the more than 35,000 members of the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, be instructed to maintain the original document of this position statement in the official records of the National HBPA in perpetuity."
The position statement was signed by National HBPA president and chairman Joe Santanna and National HBPA secretary/treasurer Susan Bunning, who serves as Kentucky HBPA president.