by Ray Paulick

Turf Paradise’s leading trainer, Robertino Diodoro, began a 15-day suspension on Monday for a positive test for the antipsychotic human drug fluphenazine (sold under the brand name Prolixin) found in the post-race test of Mercedes Stable’s Freakin Amazing, first-place finisher of the Arizona Juvenile Fillies Stakes at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, Ariz., on Dec. 27.

According to Greg Stiles, spokesman for the Arizona Department of Racing (ADOR), stewards during a Feb. 10 hearing found mitigating circumstances when investigating the positive test for the medication, which Association of Racing Commissioners International classifies as a Class 2 drug with a Class A penalty (recommended one-year minimum suspension and $10,000 fine absent mitigating circumstances).

Fluphenazine, often used to calm nervous horses, is not among the 26 drugs recommended for use in National Uniform Medication Rules adopted by the Association of Racing Commissioners International.

Following an Oct. 10 maiden claiming victory at Santa Anita Park in California, the ADOR spokesman said, Freakin Amazing was sent to the Moody Creek Farms of owner Ernie Moody (Mercedes Stable), where the farm manager is said to have requested a veterinarian treat the horse on Nov. 4. On Dec. 12, the horse was shipped back to Diodoro’s stable at Turf Paradise and the trainer was not notified of the treatment, the ADOR said.

“The stewards noted that Arizona’s recommended withdrawal time is 60 days, while California recommended withdrawal time is 30 days,” Stiles added.

Diodoro was also fined $1,575. Freakin Amazing was disqualified from the win and the purse money redistributed.

Through Saturday, Diodoro won 78 races from 271 starters (29 percent) to lead the Turf Paradise standings by a wide margin (the next-highest number of wins is 24). He also has horses racing at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas and Santa Anita Park.

This is the fifth medication violation since 2013 for Diodoro, according to The suspension, provided Diodoro does not appeal, is to run from Feb. 16-March 2. Assistant Kent Knudsen takes over his Turf Paradise stable while Rob Atras will handle Deodoro’s string at Oaklawn in the trainer’s absence.