A 132-day meet will run from October 14 thru May 6, 2018. Racing will be conducted primarily on five-day a week basis, Saturday thru Wednesday with a first race post of 12:55 pm.
There will be three special live race day Fridays: Nov. 1, the first day of the two-day Breeders’ Cup Championship simulcasts; the day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 24 and May 4, to accommodate the Kentucky Oaks simulcast.
Diodoro finished the 2016-2017 meet with 84 victories – the lowest of his four-year title win skein – but 51 wins ahead of the second leading trainer Miguel Silva. Diodoro saddled 316 horses during last season’s 127-day meet for a 27% win rate, the best among the Top 10 trainers. Fifty-five percent of Diodoro’s horses raced, finish either first, second or third. In winning his first title in 2014, Diodoro did so with an exclamation point, winning a record 128 races, eclipsing the old record of 104 wins set by Silva in 2013.
“Winning a title is an accomplishment, not only for me but for my entire team,” said Diodoro. “So, we’ll be trying for our fifth title.”
Diodoro, who hails from Calgary, Alberta, and who got into the game via his trainer grandfather, has been training horses since 1992.
Diodoro has started 1,274 horses and won 418 races during the four-years he has campaigned at Turf Paradise. But Diodoro’s talents are not confined to Arizona, where he has 60 horses. He also maintains stables at Belmont Park in New York (32 horses), Churchill Downs in Kentucky (25) and Louisiana Downs (35). He will also have 40 horses at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas when that meet opens in mid January.
“The only way to care for so many horses and be responsible to all the owners is to have a good, dedicated team,” said Diodoro. “That’s the only way.”
As of October 1, Diodoro is tied for fourth among trainers in the nation in races won with 161 victories. However, Diodoro points to winning the 2017 Oaklawn Park Handicap with Inside Straight and capturing this year’s Northland Park’s Canadian Derby with Chief Know It All, as career highlights.
“Any time you win a graded stakes, like the Oaklawn Park Handicap (G2), you feel you’re getting better at your profession,” said Diodoro. “Winning the Canadian Derby was special because my entire family was there with me. We celebrated.”
The all-time winning trainer is Richard Hazelton with a record 16 titles (462 victories), who dominated Turf Paradise racing in the sixties and seventies, when the race meets were comprised of less days than what they are now.
“Hazelton’s record is probably safe,” said Diodoro. “But who knows?”