Edward S. “Ned” Bonnie, a Louisville attorney known for his expertise in equine matters, died Saturday in Louisville, according to reports. He was 88.
A graduate of Yale University and its law school, Bonnie rose to prominence with the Dancer’s Image case, when the winner of the 1968 Kentucky Derby was disqualified after a testing positive for phenylbutazone.
Bonnie ultimately lost the case but established his reputation as a fierce and knowledgeable attorney for the firm that became Frost, Brown, Todd. He acted as counsel for owners, trainers, veterinarians, jockeys, feedmen, blacksmiths and others in the horse business, according to his bio with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
Bonnie helped draft the 1978 Interstate Horseracing Act, which legalized cross-border betting on races. Today, “simulcasting” provides the vast majority of the horse racing industry’s wagering revenue.
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Bonnie served on the racing commission under Gov. Steve Beshear and was affiliated with many equine organizations including the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, The Jockey Club and the U.S. Equestrian Federation.
He advised the National Thoroughbred Racing Association/Jockey Club Drug Testing Consortium, served on the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council and was on the University of Kentucky Equine Research Foundation.
He advocated for uniform drug rules and better testing standards, as well as safety standards for helmets.
Bonnie received the Keene Daingerfield Award from the University of Louisville’s Equine Industry Program for substantial contributions to the education and professionalism of stewards and judges. He also received a lifetime achievement award for the advancement of equestrian sports from the USEF.
Bonnie owned, broke, trained and rode hunters, jumpers and steeplechase horses and with his wife, Cornelia “Nina” Winthrop Bonnie, owned and operated a 530-acre horse and cattle farm in Oldham County.
Services will be April 2 at St. Matthews Episcopal Church in Louisville, with visitation at 10 a.m. and memorial service at 11 a.m.