03/25/2006 12:00AM

Paragallo's trainer suspended


The Aqueduct stewards ordered all Paraneck Stable-owned horses scratched from races on Saturday and Sunday after trainer Frank Amonte Jr. failed a drug test. Paraneck had four horses scratched on Saturday and was to have had two more scratched on Sunday.

While state steward Carmine Donofrio would not comment on the specific reason why the horses were ordered scratched, both Amonte and Ernie Paragallo, the authorized agent for the Paragallo-family run Paraneck Stable, confirmed Saturday that Amonte failed a drug test administered to him by the stewards earlier in the week.

Paragallo said Amonte failed a test for Vicodin, a painkiller for which he did not have a prescription. Amonte claims that his father-in-law, who has a prescription for Vicodin, gave him the pills.

Amonte, who was elevated from assistant to head trainer for Paraneck on March 11, claims that he wrenched his back earlier in the week. Amonte said he has no health coverage, which is why he did not have a prescription for the drug.

Amonte, 47, said he agreed on Saturday to serve a 15-day suspension, but Donofrio would not confirm that any suspension for any specific length of time was meted out and referred the matter to the New York State Racing and Wagering Board. No one from the board was available on Saturday to comment.

"At this point [Amonte] has to deal with the Racing and Wagering Board in Albany, not us any more," Donofrio said.

"I just want to do my days and get my license back," Amonte said.

Paragallo did not enter horses for Wednesday and said he was not sure in whose name the Paraneck horses would run beginning Thursday. Paragallo said he has hired Alan Klancer to train a string of 27 horses at Finger Lakes beginning next month. It is possible Paraneck's horses could run in Klancer's name at Aqueduct beginning later next week.

Paraneck owns the multiple stakes-winning 3-year-old Achilles of Troy, whose Kentucky Derby chances seemed to hit a snag when he was vanned from the track after finishing fifth in the Gotham on March 28. Ultimately, Achilles of Troy was diagnosed with back spasms. He has resumed training, and is scheduled to breeze next Wednesday for a possible start in the Arkansas Derby on April 15.