Diodoro Fined $5K, Gets Stayed 60-Day Suspension for Lidocaine Positives

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Robertino Diodoro | Coady Photography

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Two 3-hydroxylidocaine positives detected in separate horses six days apart at Canterbury Park in August and September have resulted in a $5,000 fine and 60-day suspension for trainer Robertino Diodoro.

The suspension part of the penalty has been stayed so long as Diodoro does not incur a Class 1 or 2 or Penalty Category A or B medication violation before Jan. 31, 2021.

Lidocaine is classified as a Class 2, Penalty Category B substance on the Controlled Therapeutic Medication Schedule compiled by the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI).

For a first offense, the ARCI’s recommended Category B penalties are a “minimum one-year suspension absent mitigating circumstances [and a] minimum fine of $10,000 or 10% of total purse (greater of the two) absent mitigating circumstances.”

The positives were reported in lower-level claiming horses that ran second and sixth.

According to a Nov. 30 Minnesota Racing Commission ruling, Diodoro back on Nov. 18 had “waived his right to a formal hearing and agreed to accept a Board of Stewards ruling calling for a 60-day suspension effective Dec. 1, 2020 through Jan. 30, 2021, and a $5,000 civil penalty.” Another stewards’ phone conference with Diodoro on Monday preceded the release of the ruling.

That ruling continued: “Due to mitigating factors, the Board of Stewards ordered a stay of the 60-day suspension for 365 days beginning Dec. 1 providing Diodoro has no Class 1 or Class 2, Category A or B medication violations within that timeframe. If Diodoro is the subject of a Class 1 or Class 2, Category A or B medication violation within the timeframe, the 60-day suspension will be reinstated immediately…”

The ruling did not address specifics of the mitigating factors.

The first positive came from Hey Kitten (Haynesfield) who ran second as the 9-10 favorite Aug. 26 in a $10,000 claimer for owner Heads Up Racing. The 3-year-old filly was claimed that day and hasn’t started since, although she shows recent workouts at Turfway Park. According to the ruling, her 3-hydroxylidocaine finding was reported at 58.4 pg/ml (the threshold is 20 pg/ml).

On Sept. 1, Catty Krys (Discreet Cat) ran sixth as the 23-10 second favorite in a $7,500 claimer for owner Empire Racing Stables, LLC. She too was claimed by a new outfit, and has since started four more times at Remington Park and Charles Town Races without cracking the top three placings. According to the ruling, the 6-year-old mare’s 3-hydroxylidocaine finding was reported at 56.6 pg/ml.

According to the ruling, “The Board of Stewards took into consideration that the second violation occurred before the first violation was reported to the Stewards and was not known by the trainer. Therefore, the Board of Stewards treated the two violations as one, which is standard practice.”

The ruling stated that Diodoro requested split-serum sample testing for confirmation and the presence of 3-Hydroxylidocaine was recorded “in both split sample serums well above the threshold level,” the ruling stated.

Both horses were disqualified for purse and placing purposes only. The ruling did not address the status of the claims made by new owners on the days both tested positive.

Around the same time that Diodoro’s two Canterbury horses returned the Class 2 positives, the trainer had four other horses disqualified for Class 4 positives that turned up earlier in the year at Oaklawn Park and Will Rogers Downs.

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