KHRC rejects complaint against wealthy Sheikh and his horse, Derby favorite Essential Quality

Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 7:49 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the owner of Kentucky Derby favorite Essential Quality, is the target of a complaint filed with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, calling for his suspension from any involvement with Kentucky horse racing until he can prove that his daughter, who many believe is being held against her will, is safe and free.

But Thursday, the KHRC issued a short statement rejecting the complaint:

“The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) received a complaint against licensee Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum on April 28, 2021. In consultation with counsel, and according to Kentucky regulations, the KHRC has determined the complaint does not articulate a violation of KHRC regulations.”

International human rights activists allege Sheikh Mohammad is holding his daughter, Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum, prisoner after she tried to leave Dubai against his wishes.

The princess was seen in a video this year asking for help, prompting a panel of United Nations human rights experts to call for independent verification of the conditions under which she is being held, and for her immediate release.

“She expresses fear for her life that this might be the last time she is able to communicate because of the conditions under which she is being held and her fear of her father,” UofL law professor Sam Marcosson said.

Marcosson is part of a team from the UofL Brandeis School of Law behind the complaint, which is similar to another one filed in 2019 that also was dismissed.

“Their powers are expansive,” he said of the KHRC before it issued its ruling late Thursday afternoon. “And those powers should be used to bar Sheikh Mohammed from any involvement which means any horses he has, anyone he is associated with, could also not run we think in Kentucky races including the Derby.”

Sheikh Mohammad is the Prime Minister of United Arab Emirites, and one of the wealthiest figures in horse racing, with stables all over the world, including locations in Kentucky.

Requests for comment to his offices in Lexington and the UAE were not successful.

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