Prominent owner Frank Calabrese, who earlier this year dismissed Kirk Ziadie as his South Florida trainer, has retained Michael Petro to oversee his 40-horse stable in the Sunshine State.
Petro, who recently took over the Calabrese horses at Gulfstream Park, will saddle his first horse for Calabrese with Dreaming of Neno in the third race Aug. 15.
"It's exciting. Mr. Calabrese has a lot of nice horses," said the 49-year-old Petro, who has saddled nearly 1.500 winners during his career.
Petro, who previously was based in South Florida during the winter, has been training year-round in the Mid-Atlantic region in recent years.
"I used to stable down here in the winter and I stayed a few summers, but when they got the slots up there (Parx), I moved up there," Petro said.
A native of Braintree, Mass., Petro is the brother of Florida-based conditioner Kathy Ritvo, best known for her conditioning of Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Mucho Macho Man . Their brother Nick is a jockey with more than 1,800 wins to his credit, and their late brother Lou was also a rider.
Before their split in February, Calabrese and Ziadie each led in wins at two recent race meets at Calder Casino & Race Course and at the first summer/fall meet at Gulfstream Park.
"Kirk did a good job, but we had some differences of opinion and I fired him," Calabrese said at the time.
"I'm really looking forward to the challenge here," Petro said. "Mr. Calabrese likes to win, and we're going to do our best to win races for him."