Calder Grand Stand

Calder Grand Stand

Leslie Martin

Calder Reinstates Trainer Kirk Ziadie

Ziadie hopes to resume training runners late this month.

Calder Casino & Race Course has reinstated trainer Kirk Ziadie, two years after it barred him for reasons it now says are related to positive drug tests on horses and late payments to vendors.

Ziadie hopes to resume entering and running horses at the Miami Gardens, Fla., track late this month, he said on Sept. 6. Over Labor Day weekend, he claimed two horses at Calder for owner Frank Calabrese.

Calder allowed Ziadie to resume training late last month and has allocated him five stalls, Calder Vice President and General Manager John Marshall said Sept. 6.

“We determined that two years is a right amount of time,” he said. “In talking with Kirk, we feel that he is better prepared to manage his financial responsibilities and the other areas that were a concern.”

Ziadie said: “I am thrilled that Calder is letting me back. After two years, I have learned a lot about the financial responsibility I need as a trainer and I have grown as a person.”

Ziadie, now 43, led Calder trainers in victories at the 2007 and 2008 Calder meets and at the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 Tropical meets. He won Tampa Bay Downs’ training title in 2005-2006.

Ziadie was leading in wins at the 2009 Calder meet on June 18, when the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering suspended him for 60 days and fined him $1,000. Those were the penalties on a case in which one of his horses tested positive for Acepromazine, a Class 3 tranquilizer that is banned on race days, after a 2007 race at Gulfstream Park. 

The Florida DPMW’s ruling listed 12 other medication violations against Ziadie, totaling $4,850 in fines and one 15-day suspension.

On Aug, 20, 2009 Calder barred Ziadie from training and all other activity at its property and gave him 72 hours to leave the grounds.

Calder officials then declined to comment on that decision, including the question of whether it was related to the Florida DPMW suspension and other medication violations that agency had reviewed concerning Ziadie.

But on Sept, 6, 2011, Marshall said: “We felt that Kirk (in 2009) was conducting business in a manner that was inappropriate for a trainer at Calder. He was falling short on his financial obligations to vendors and had established a trend of excessive Category 4 and Category 5 medication violations.”

Calder’s decision to expel Ziadie was “an independent judgment” and not tied to the Florida DPMW, Marshall said.

Ziadie said his financial problems developed because “a lot of times, I was thinking only about the horses and winning races.”

He said that led to situations in which he was late in getting payments from owners and was thus late in paying feed suppliers, tack companies and other vendors.

Ziadie trained horses at Laurel Park in 2010 and trained several horses at Gulfstream early this year,

“I have had good dealings with John Marshall and others at Calder in asking them to let me back,” Ziadie said. “I owe thanks to Tim Ritvo for talking with them for me.”

Ritvo is Gulfstream’s president and general manager and is a former trainer.

“Several of my regular owners want me to train for them again,” Ziadie said.

He mentioned Greg Kaufman, Peter Lawson and Richard Averill.

Ziadie is the son of Ralph Ziadie, who won five training titles at Calder during the 1990s.

“There are a lot of good things about Kirk,” Marshall said.  “He is personable and is a hard worker. He claims a lot of horses and runs a lot of horses, and he does not play games with the entry box.”

Ziadie was very active in claiming horses, notably older ones, and had high winning percentages, including overnight stakes, at Calder. His tactics and large number of medication citations led to scrutiny from some horsemen and fans,

Now, he is hoping for a fresh start and hoping to gain more stalls when owners say they have horses for him.

Ziadie served his 60-day Florida DPMW suspension in 2009 after Calder barred him.

The Florida DPMW has no active complaints regarding Ziadie and he has a trainer’s license with no restrictions through June 30, 2012, said a spokeswoman for that agency.