By T. D. Thornton
For the third time as many days this week, the nation's third-leading trainer by wins for 2020 has been fined and had a winner disqualified for a Class 4 drug positive.
According to a Sept. 2 ruling issued by the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission, the Robertino Diodoro-trained Erebuni (Ministers Wild Cat) came up positive for dexamethasone in post-race serum testing after winning the 10th race at Will Rogers Downs May 4. The race was a $5,000 NW4L claimer in which the mare was favored at 19-10 odds.
Dexamethasone is an anti-inflammatory listed as a Class 4/Penalty Category C prohibited substance on the Association of Racing Commissioners International's uniform classification guidelines for foreign substances.
According to the ruling, Diodoro declined the opportunity to have a split sample tested, waived his right to a hearing, and pled “no contest.”
In addition to owner Empire Racing Stables, LLC, (Jason Bullard) losing the $4,614 winning purse for Erebuni's DQ, Diodoro was fined $1,000.
Erebuni has started and lost three consecutive races since that May 4 win, shipping most recently to Evangeline Downs in Louisiana. But the ruling states that the mare must now work out and be examined by a commission veterinarian (at the owner and/or trainer's expense) before being allowed to race again.
On Aug. 31, Diodoro had two winners and a fifth-place horse disqualified from Oaklawn Park races via rulings that cited prohibited use of two different Class 4 substances. Diodoro was separately fined $3,500 for failing to meet the “absolute insurer” requirements of a trainer licensed by the Arkansas State Racing Commission.