Calder Race Course has barred trainer Kirk Ziadie from training and all other activity at its property.
Ziadie said Calder officials handed him an indefinite expulsion late in the afternoon Aug. 20 "and told me I have 72 hours to leave the grounds." He has been training at the Miami Gardens, Fla., track while a state court in Tallahassee is considering his appeal of a 60-day medication-related suspension by the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.
"We are exercising our management rights and making a reasonable business decision to exclude Kirk Ziadie’s participation at Calder," said track spokeswoman Michele Blanco.
"We are reserving any further comment at this time," Blanco said when asked why Calder is barring Ziadie and whether other tracks owned by Churchill Downs Inc. might bar him from their properties.
Ziadie has four won four Calder training titles and is third in wins during the current Calder meet with 25 through Aug. 21. Bill White and Marty Wolfson are tied for the lead with 26.
"It could be," Ziadie said when asked if he felt Calder’s action is related to the 60-day suspension and $1,000 fine the Florida DPMW issued against him on June 18.
The Florida DPMW based the penalties on a case in which one of Ziadie's horses tested positive for a race-day banned tranquilizer after a 2007 race at Gulfstream Park.
Ziadie on June 26 appealed the ruling to the First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee. The court on July 8 put a stay on the suspension pending its final disposition of Ziadie’s appeal. He has not sat out any days for the Calder meet, which began April 24.
"Calder notified of us its action late Thursday (Aug. 24)," said a Florida DPMW spokeswoman.
"We cannot comment because this is not an action of our agency," she said of Calder’s barring of Ziadie. "This does not change anything with our suspension."
Ziadie said that after the last race on Aug. 20, Calder vice president and general manager of racing John Marshall "came to my barn and asked me to come to the main office."
There, Ziadie said he met with Marshall and several other Calder officials.
"They told me they were making a business decision, and that the did not want me at the track anymore," Ziadie said. "I asked why, and they said ‘we don’t have to answer. It is a business decision.’"
Ziadie said he is barred from the entire Calder property.
He said Calder on Aug. 20 also barred veterinarian Raul Jimenez and jockey agent Richard Ciardullo from its property.
Ziadie said he did not know the reason for those actions. But he noted that Jimenez has done work for him and that Ciardullo is the agent for Jesus Rios, who has ridden some races for him this year.
Ziadie said Ashley Behrens, who has been training at Thistledown in Ohio, will seek permission from Calder to take over training of his horses at the track.
He said he was uncertain whether any horses he has entered will race at Calder on Aug. 22 and Aug. 23.
A later check of the Florida DPMW Web site showed Behrens’ Florida trainer’s license expired on June 30, 2009.
Ziadie said several owners who have horses with him also have horses with Behrens in Ohio. If she does not take over his barn, Ziadie said he probably will ship his horses to other tracks, citing Delaware Park and Monmouth Park as possibilities.
Ziadie, who will turn 41 on Aug. 22, won Calder meet training titles in 2007 and 2008 and Tropical at Calder titles in 2006 and 2007. He won Tampa Bay Downs’ training title in 2005-2006.
The Florida DPMW’s suspension issued June 18 was for one Gulfstream race on March 19, 2007. Not Acclaim, trained by Ziadie, won the race and later tested positive for Acepromazine, a Class 3 tranquilizer that is banned on race days.
But the DPMW ruling listed 12 previous medication violations against Ziadie, totaling $4,850 in fines, and one 15-day suspension. It did not list dates for those penalties.
"I feel that those violations were borderline," Ziadie said. "These and others (violations) have not been for enhancers, but for medications that would be like Advil for humans."
Ziadie has attracted national attention for several years for high winning percentages at Calder and Tampa Bay. The recent Florida DPMW suspension and his appeal have added to that attention.
On Aug. 14, a spokeswoman for the Florida DPMW said it expects it might be "approximately eight months" before the court rules on Ziadie’s appeal. The DPMW is basing that estimate partly on previous lengths of appeals of suspensions.