Edward S. "Ned" Bonnie
Louisville - a nationally renowned equine attorney and horseman, passed away Saturday evening March 17, 2018 in Louisville. He was 88 years old. A Kentuckian by birth, Ned was a passionate horseman, sportsman, conservationist, and devoted husband, father and grandfather.
Ned was graduated from Hotchkiss School, Yale University and Yale Law School. While at Yale, he was a member of the esteemed Whiffenpoofs singing group and music would remain an important part of his life until his death.
Ned's professional career was driven by a lifelong commitment to justice and fairness and a love of horses. Ned was retired of counsel to the Firm of Frost Brown Todd, a regional law firm he helped establish. Ned concentrated his practice in the area of equine law, and was responsible for the prosecution and/or defense of over 1,000 medication rule violation cases in the horse business. He tried hundreds of cases before AHSA and USEF Hearing Committees, Racing Stewards, Commissions and Courts in many racing states.
A trailblazer in the horse industry, he gained national recognition as the young attorney representing Dancer's Image owner Peter Fuller in the 1968 Kentucky Derby drug scandal that cost Dancer's Image the coveted Derby Trophy.
As author Milt Toby has written, "By the early 1980s, Ned Bonnie was being recognized as a "world authority on equine medication and the law." Ned continued to be an outspoken advocate for modern equine drug testing and drug research in Kentucky and nationally.
His commitment to fair play and the level playing field for all participants in equine events was paramount. His concern for the welfare of the horse and rider was the motivation for his many recommended rule changes - often adopted leading to safer equine sports. He was an author of many articles on drug testing, procedural due process requirements and administering drug rules.
Ned's accolades are voluminous. Ned along with his wife Nina were given the Lifetime Achievement Award from USEF in 2002. As recently as 2016, he was inducted into the American College of Equine Attorneys Hall of Fame (an organization he helped found and of which he was a Fellow). In 2012, Ned was awarded the first Edward S. Bonnie Award (named for him), for Outstanding Kentucky Equine Lawyer for 2012, established by the Kentucky Bar Association, Equine Law Section.
He held memberships and affiliations, including The Jockey Club, the United States Equestrian Federation, the National Steeplechase Association (as a rider, trainer and owner, and later a Steward / Racing Official), a former member of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, and Past Member of the University of Kentucky Equine Research Foundation, to name a few.
Ned was a committed conservationist and was central to setting up the Harrods Creek Land Trust and later Oldham Ahead.
Ned Bonnie married Nina Winthrop in 1960 and in 1962 they moved to Stonelea Farm in Prospect, Kentucky. There, Ned trained steeplechase horses, while Nina developed a top-class string of show hunters. He rode steeplechase horses into his late 50s and had numerous winners at Oxmoor, Hardscuffle and the Iroquois in Nashville. He was a seasoned foxhunter and was Master of Long Run Hounds from 1988 to 2014.
They raised two sons, Shelby and Robert. The whole family remain avid foxhunters, and Ned spent a great deal of time hunting and fishing with his boys who continue to be lifelong outdoorsmen. Ned, Nina and the boys cherished summer evenings at the farm where guests and family alike were treated to sweet corn from Ned's garden. Ned is survived by Nina, Shelby (married to Carol), Robert (married to Julie Gomena) and four grandchildren, Mason, Henry, Virginia and Lilly.
Services will be on April 2, 2018 at St. Matthews Episcopal Church, with visitation at 10:00 a.m. and the Memorial Service at 11:00 a.m. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Community Foundation of Louisville's Edward S. Bonnie Endowment to benefit the Legal Aid Society, 325 W. Main Street, #1110, Louisville, Ky. 40202