By: Matt Hegarty
Ralph Ziadie has started 12 horses at the Gulfstream Park West meet at Calder Race Course in south Florida since the meet opened Oct. 8, an indication that officials at the track have concluded a probe that sought to determine whether his son Kirk, who is banned from the track, has a role in training the horses or is tied to the horses financially.
So far at the meet, Ralph Ziadie has two wins from the 12 starts, with one second and two thirds, along with earnings of $43,190. At the recently concluded Gulfstream Park meet, Ziadie had 20 wins from 66 starts, for a strike rate of 30 percent and earnings of $547,133.
Reached on Monday by phone, Ziadie said he did not have time to discuss the investigation by Gulfstream Park officials. “I have many horses to train,” he said.
Officials at Gulfstream and at the parent company for the track, The Stronach Group, have not responded to repeated phone messages left since last week.
Gulfstream officials launched the probe into Ziadie’s horses at the tail end of September, and in early October, they said Ziadie had furnished them with billing records for the stable to review.
At the time, Gulfstream officials had recently forced one trainer, Allan Hunter, to disperse approximately 20 of his horses who were linked to the suspended trainer Marcus Vitali. However, they also allowed Hunter to continue to train and enter 12 horses in his stable following a review of his own stable’s records and after conducting interviews with owners of the horses, Gulfstream officials said.
Gulfstream banned Kirk Ziadie earlier this year, shortly after he was granted a stay of a six-year suspension for multiple medication violations. While Ralph Ziadie started 37 horses in 2015, with one win, this year he has started 152 horses, with 34 wins. Many of those horses were formerly trained by his son, and others are owned by longtime clients of Kirk Ziadie.