Calgary’s Robertino Diodoro Sizzling With Starters; Expected to Have Manitoba String ’20

Former hockey player set to have string at Assiniboia Downs for 2020 in addition to stables throughout the continent; he won over 250 races in 2019.

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Trainer ROBERTINO DIODORO with jockey Orlando Mojica after winning the 2019 Manitoba Derby with OIL MONEY - Assiniboia Downs photo

By: Jennifer Morrison |

Alberta-born ROBERTINO DIODORO will reportedly have a string of 40 horses at ASSINIBOIA DOWNS for the 2020 season which opens May 10 in Winnipeg.

Diodoro, 45, has risen to the top of the thoroughbred trainer crop in North America with a huge claiming/stakes barn that has divisions currently at Oaklawn, Sam Houston, Delta Downs and Turf Paradise. Originally from Calgary, Diodoro was on the road to being a hockey player before trading that in for horse training.

He comes by horsemanship honestly. His dad, Tino, helped out his maternal grandfather, Jim Dorman, with horses at the track when Diodoro was a kid.

“He never had more than two or three horses and my dad helped out at the barn,” Diodoro said. “He was always the first one there in the morning.”

His father, Tino, would arrive at 4:30 a.m. daily, setting the mold for what it would take if Robertino wanted to make it in the racing industry.

Diodoro’s first horse was a gift from his grandfather and the hook was set. “It took off from there. At first I couldn’t get or afford help. I was on my own,” he said.

He got his trainer’s license at age 19 and began racing at bush tracks. “I started from the very bottom up,” he said. Although he saddled winners at some of those locations, his first recognized winner was at Northlands Park in Alberta, a horse named Manchu Prince. He was 20 years old.

From 1995 to 2020, Diodoro has built up one of the biggest, busiest stables anywhere. He starts over 1,000 horses per year, set a personal best of 258 wins in 2019, 6th in North America, and he won his 3rd Manitoba Derby last season with Oil Money. He has won Canadian Derbies with horses such as Sovereign Award winner SKY PROMISE and Oklahoma Derby winner BROADWAY EMPIRE.

This year, the trainer has new claim PIONEER SPIRIT racing in stakes at Oaklawn Park.

At that meeting, which began at the end of January, Diodoro is 17 for 42, a 40% win rate. He has 2,300 wins in his career.

Diodoro told The Insider newsletter from Assiniboia Downs that assistant Kent Knudson will accompany the horses to Winnipeg along with jockey TY KENNEDY.