08/13/2007 12:00AM

He’s been winning races at an amazing rate


The name Ziadie has been a mainstay among the leading trainers at Calder for nearly two decades. But over the last couple of seasons it has been Kirk, not his father, Ralph, who has put the Ziadie family on top of the list.

Ralph Ziadie earned the first of his six Calder and Tropical at Calder training titles in 1990, and the last came in 1999. Over the years, he has continued to maintain one of the most powerful stables on the south Florida circuit.

Kirk, like his father a native of Kingston, Jamaica, worked briefly as an assistant for his dad before opting to strike out on his own with a small string of horses in 2003. Since that time, the younger Ziadie has won training titles at Tampa Bay Downs in 2005-2006 and during the 2006-07 Tropical at Calder meet. He is also well on the way to adding the 2007 Calder title to his resume, having opened up a commanding advantage over perennial leader Bill White by saddling 36 winners during the first 69 days of the session.

Ziadie wins races at an amazing rate. During the 2006 Tropical meet, Ziadie saddled 25 winners from only 47 starters, an almost unheard-of success rate of 53 percent. This summer he's been winning at a more modest, but still enviable, 31 percent clip.

Ziadie, who will celebrate his 39th birthday on Aug. 22, owns a win percentage of 30 or better in 20 handicapping categories and a positive return on investment in 14 categories. That ROI is a somewhat surprising feat considering the attention at the mutuel windows that success has brought to his horses.

The most impressive of Ziadie's numbers, without a doubt, is with horses first off the claim and with horses making their first start for his barn. Although not overly active at the claim box, Ziadie has won first time out with 12 of the 23 horses he's haltered over the past two years and has an ROI of $2.79. He is almost equally proficient with all horses who are running first time for him, posting a 45 percent success rate and a $2.98 ROI.

Ziadie's most successful claim has been Paradise Dancer, whom he haltered as a 6-year-old for $40,000 during the summer of 2006. The son of Lanfuhr has gone on to win three stakes, produce five triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures and recently finish second behind the nationally ranked sprinter Mach Ride in the Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap.

Ziadie claimed Paradise Dancer for Richard N. Averill, the leading owner in races won at Calder last year and currently tied atop the standings with the Monarch Stable in defense of that title. Ziadie has also made numerous claims for the Acclaimed Racing Stable. One of those recent acquisitions, Personal Style, is a good example of the Ziadie magic. Plucked out of a $12,500 maiden race on June 3, Personal Style quickly doubled in value when moving up to defeat $25,000 claiming foes with a career-best 70 Beyer less than four weeks later.

Other categories in which Ziadie shows a positive ROI are layoffs of 180 days or more ($2.37), layoffs of 61-180 days ($2.95), maiden special weight to maiden claiming ($4.30), turf to dirt ($2.31), blinkers on ($2.21) and first-time starters in maiden claiming races ($2.24).

From what he's achieved so far, it's a safe bet the Ziadie name will remain a fixture in the Calder trainer standings for quite some time.