Robertino Diodoro Profile
|Born||Oct 02, 1973|
Robertino Diodoro is a Canadian trainer, whose main charge in the 2021 Kentucky Derby was Keepmeinmind, who finished in seventh place.
Robertino Diodoro is a Canadian horse racing trainer who has recorded more than 2,600 victories since receiving his trainer's licence in 1995. He mostly races at tracks like Oaklawn Park and Churchill Downs.
The trainer, whose total purse earnings stand at more than $48million, has started to rise in status over the last few seasons and some of his top career trainees include names like Inside Straight, Subtle Indian, Patriots Rule, Broadway Empire, Sky Promise and Keepmeinmind.
He was one of the key names on the 2021 Road to the Kentucky Derby, with the latter horse in contention for the race. The 20/1 shot finished in seventh place, eight-and-a-half lengths behind winner Medina Spirit.
Early career - and borrowing money!
Diodoro decided to start training racehorses at the age of 18, first leasing two mounts from legendary trainer Gene White. Despite the excitement, the horses were not winners when Diodoro ran them at Trout Springs near Calgary.
"I got 80% of what the horses won; Gene got the other 20%," Diodoro explained. "It sounded like a good deal at the time. The math, however, didn't exactly work. Eighty per cent of nothing is still nothing. I raced those horses at Trout Springs.
"There was just no money to be made. The purses were about $600. At the end of that summer, I had to borrow money off my mom to pay the blacksmith!"
Despite those rough beginnings in the sport, Diodoro eventually became one of the top trainers in Alberta and then, once moving out of the province, one of the best in North America.
Diodoro established himself at Northlands Park, where he was a trainer for a decade. Northlands Park was the top track in Edmonton, Alberta, and it ran both a spring harness meet and a summer Thoroughbred meet.
The trainer won the last race ever held at the track when his trainee, Sky Promise, scored the 2018 Canadian Derby.
Many of the trainer's highlight moments have taken place at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas.
Diodoro began life there in 2015 and impressed everyone right away, taking his first stakes victory at the track when Subtle Indian scored the $100,000 Gazebo Stakes for three-year-old sprinters.
In 2016, he was the joint-fifth leading trainer at Oaklawn with 22 wins, four of which were consecutive victories for Subtle Indian. The runner took the $100,000 Hot Springs Stakes and $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap as part of this series.
Diodoro was the second-leading trainer at Oaklawn in 2017 with 31 victories, which included an upset by Inside Straight in the $750,000 Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap.
In 2018, he won 18 races at the Oaklawn meeting for owner M and M Racing, enabling them to win their first career owners' title. In total, he took 32 racing victories at the track to rank second among trainers again.
In 2019, the trainer finished third in the list of North American wins and won 48 times in total at Oaklawn, again finishing second. He won 29 races at the Oaklawn meeting for M and M Racing, leading to owners Mike and Mickala Sisk setting a single-season meet record. The pair scored the most wins among all owners at the track with 61.
2020 was one of the best years in Diodoro's career. He won the top trainer title at the Oaklawn Park meet when he took his 52nd win on Arkansas Derby day with one of his 57/1 long-shot runners. He had finished second on the list of top trainers in each of the three previous years before finally coming out on top.
Some of the trainer's 2020 Oaklawn stakes winners included Pioneer Spirit, winner of the Second Division of the Fifth Season; Special Relativity, winner of the American Beauty; and Sky Promise, winner of the first-ever 1½-mile Temperence Hill.
Keepmeinmind and the 2021 Road to the Kentucky Derby
Keepmeinmind is one of Diodoro's top horses, who has brought him increased attention over the last year. The colt is a son of Laoban by Uncle Mo and he is one of the top names on the 2021 Road to the Kentucky Derby. He finished seventh in the big race at Churchill Downs.
Keepmeinmind is a late-running grandson of Victory Gallop, who was the winner of the 1998 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park.
Keepmeinmind has a career record of one win, two seconds and one third from seven lifetime races. His total purse earnings currently sit at $424,987.
Owned by Cypress Creek Equine, Arnold Bennewith and Spendthrift Farm, the colt debuted for Diodoro back on September 2, 2020, when he finished second in a maiden special-weight race at Churchill Downs.
Diodoro trained the runner in his first big performance on October 3, 2020, when the colt finished second in the Claiborne Breeders' Futurity, a Grade 1 event at Keeneland. This gave him four points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.
Next time out, Keepmeinmind finished third for Diodoro in the November 6 Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Keeneland, another Grade 1 event. This gave him another four points.
As the 2020 season came to an end, Diodoro began to receive attention for Keepmeinmind when the horse won the November 28 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs, making him a serious contender in the 2021 Road to the Kentucky Derby. With the victory, Diodoro took his ninth graded stakes win and Keepmeinmind claimed 10 Road to the Kentucky Derby points.
According to the trainer, he did not realise the full talent of Keepmeinmind when the horse was handed to him in February 2020.
"He was a good-looking horse, but he was just kind of a big baby," Diodoro said. "Once we got him going, you could see he was a good horse, but I wouldn't say the first couple of weeks I ever said, 'Wow'. He wasn't that type of horse."