Robertino Diodoro, currently fifth for wins in this year’s North American trainer standings, has been suspended 30 days and fined $1,000 after a colt under his care, Aristocracy (Tapit), tested positive for elevated total carbon dioxide (TCO2) in the blood after finishing sixth in the Apr. 22 $200,000 Bath House Row S. at Oaklawn Park.
According to two rulings issued by the Arkansas Racing Commission on Monday, May 15, Aristocracy is disqualified from purse winnings, and Diodoro will have 15 days of his suspension stayed “on the condition that no Class A or Class B medication violations occur in any racing jurisdiction within 365 days from the date of this ruling.”
Aristocracy’s sample revealed a TCO2 blood reading of 42.3 mmol/L, a penalty category B violation in Arkansas.
The suspension is to be served Dec. 8, 2023, through December 22, 2023, which coincides with the expected start of the next Oaklawn meet. The current season ended May 6, and Diodoro was the leading trainer in victories and third in earnings.
The rulings stated Diodoro waived his rights to both a stewards’ hearing and the appeal of both rulings.
TCO2 testing is designed to deter the practice of “milkshaking,” which involves administering a liquid solution of baking soda via nasogastric tube in an effort to prevent lactic acid buildup and stave off muscular fatigue.
The Paulick Report first reported the penalties, quoting Diodoro as denying Aristocracy was milkshaked. The trainer also said he had no idea how the colt’s TCO2 level registered beyond the permitted limit of 37 mmol/L.
Some amount of TCO2 occurs naturally in the blood of horses.
The Bath House Row S. was the 3-year-old’s first start for Diodoro and owner Gordon Christoff.
Aristocracy had previously raced for his breeders, Gary and Mary West, under the care of trainer Brad Cox.
His previous race for those connections was a ninth-place try in the John Battaglia Memorial S. at Turfway Park Mar. 4.