The UAE’s Sheikh Mohammed is under fire ahead of the Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission received a complaint this week from human rights groups and Louisville students in an effort to pull Kentucky Derby favorites from competing over allegations that a Dubai prince orchestrated his daughter’s exit.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, who has long tried to succeed in the Kentucky Derby, has decided to run his horse Essential Quality in the annual race on Saturday at Churchill Downs. Essential Quality opened as the first favorite for the 147th race.

The complaint filed against him asked the racing commission to bar him from entering any horse in the race “until such time as his daughter, Princess Latifa, is freed from captivity, or to hold an immediate public hearing to assess serious allegations of human rights abuse.” according to the Associated Press.

Allegations against Sheikh Muhammad

A panel of United Nations human rights experts asked Dubai last week to prove that Sheikh Mohammed’s daughter, Sheikha Latfia, was still alive and demanded her release; by The New York Times. Videos have surfaced of her in recent years in which she said she was locked up in a Dubai palace and fighting for her life.

The 30-year-old reportedly fled the country in 2018 on a yacht, but was later surrendered when his boat was seized by Indian commandos. He had seen the courts sometimes when he

A British judge ruled last year that Sheikh Mohammed kidnapped another one of his daughters, Shamsa, from Cambridge in 2000 and took her to Dubai, according to the Times. His youngest wife, Princess Haya, also left the country and said she was subject to threats and harassment.

He was also accused of “abduction and slavery of children” for driving camels in the nation, the trainer had a ban on steroids for horses and allowing more.

Despite all the allegations against him, Sheikh Mohammed’s various business ventures — including Goldphin’s gold stables in Kentucky — seem to have provided him with refuge in the horse racing world.

Ex The New York Times:

After all, Sheikh Mo, as he is known here, is a one-man financial hit. It employs hundreds of Kentuckians. Last September, he arrived at Blue Grass Airport by private jumbo jet for the Keeneland yearling sale. He examines the horses from the side of the iron racks and masters, often playing the windbreaker in the royal blue of his family’s Godolphin racing stable.

And Sheikh Mo spends – up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, winning several auctions and lowering the prices of horses.

As Arthur Hancock III, the fourth generation gentleman, once put it: “If that big old plane hadn’t been at the airport one September, you’d have had your whole heart sunk around here.”

Sheikh Mohammed will be banned from Derby?

Probably not.

As the sport’s biggest race is set to kick off on Saturday, it’s likely that either the racing commission or Churchill Downs will do something in the season.

KHRC Press Associates did not respond to the complaint, although Churchill Downs spokesman Darren Rogers said they were simply focused on the race.

“Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid currently holds a valid driver’s license in the state of Kentucky. There have been no horse racing violations and we are not aware of any other regulatory or US government investigations,” said Rogers. by The Associated Press. “We are proud of the three years that have earned a trip to the Kentucky Derby this year, and our concern is the integrity of the race and the safety of those horses.”

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