Galiana upsets the Skipat. Photo by Laurie Asseo.

Galiana winning the Skipat in May 2015. Photo by Laurie Asseo.

by Doug McCoy

Rodolfo Romero, trainer of top Midlantic sprinter Galiana, has been suspended for 90 days and fined $2,500 by Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission stewards after a search of Romero’s barn yielded syringes and needles, in a stewards ruling handed down October 7.

Galiana, an earner of $616,621, won the $75,000 Tax Free Shopping Distaff Sprint by more than five lengths on September 12 at odds of 1-5, but following that race the mare tested positive for Phenylbutazone and Flunixin. The use of more than one medication, known as “stacking,” is not permitted in Delaware and Galania’s win was voided and the purse on that race redistributed.  Romero waived his rights to a split sample and to a hearing and initially was assessed a $500 fine and one point on the ARCI multiple medication violations point system.

However, a subsequent search of Romero’s barn by agents from the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau on September 29 produced syringes and needles, after which Romero was summarily suspended pending a hearing.  That hearing was held on October 6, after which the stewards issued their ruling suspending and fining Romero.

Prior to Galiana’s positive test, Romero had also been before the stewards this meeting after it was found he had arranged to have one of the horses he raced claimed by a third party, sources told The Racing Biz. Motin, a seven-year-old gelding owned by Sharee Miranda, was claimed after winning the eighth race at Delaware Park on September 23.  However, Miranda protested the claim to the stewards, who subsequently voided it because new owner Isaias Garcia Cortez “had close contact with the horse when taking the horse to the paddock and test barn after the horse had run in and won a previous race as a groom.”

Romero, who was the groom for Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Afleet Alex, has 16 wins at the current meeting, sixth most among all trainers.