Saturday, January 24, 2015

Diodoro Gets First Win at Oaklawn

Trainer Robertino Diodoro’s first career winner at Oaklawn was a memorable one. Diodoro, who has a division in Hot Springs for the first time this year, saddled unbeaten Subtle Indian to a front-running 4 ½-length victory in Friday’s ninth race, an entry-level allowance/optional claiming sprint for 3-year-olds.

A gelded son of Indian Charlie – third as the betting favorite in the 1998 Kentucky Derby – Subtle Indian rocketed to the lead after being bumped at the start and easily turned back the challenge of favorite Holy Boss on the outside near the quarter pole. Subtle Indian, who also provided jockey Chris Landeros with his first Oaklawn victory, covered six furlongs over a fast track in a sharp 1:10.85.

“He’s a horse that we’ve had issues with, just being a high-strung horse,” Diodoro said Saturday morning. “He’s always been fast.”

Subtle Indian won his 3 ½-furlong career debut by 4 ¼ lengths June 22 at Canterbury in suburban Minneapolis and then suffered a minor shin injury shortly after that race, according to his trainer. The gelding was scheduled to return in a Nov. 22 allowance race at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, but was scratched at the gate after he got “too wound up.” The trainer said the horse’s overgirth broke during the post parade and the gelding had to be returned to the paddock to be re-saddled.

“Then the horse was really jacked up,” Diodoro said. “It was just a nightmare from there.”

Diodoro, the country’s fifth-winningest trainer last year (244), said he and gelding’s owner, Mercedes Stables LLC (Maria Vila & Ernest Moody), decided to ship Subtle Indian to Oaklawn earlier than originally scheduled because the purses are much higher than at Turf Paradise. The trainer, who lives in Phoenix, said he has 75 horses at Turf Paradise, 22 at Santa Anita in Southern California and 13 at Oaklawn.

He praised Landeros for being able to have Subtle Indian throttled down mentally before the race. Future plans for the gelding are pending, but the trainer is eyeing a two-turn race.

“He came back good; it didn’t seem to take too much out of him,” Diodoro said. “Whether it’s the next start or two starts away, I would like to try him around two turns. I think he will go two turns. He’s just got to learn to relax. Really, there’s a lot more maturing to do.”

Mercedes Stable has also campaigned, among others, multiple Grade 1 winner Rock Hard Ten.
 
Eyes of Texas

Texas Bling needed eight starts to break his maiden in 2012. It took considerably less time for his full sister.
Making just her second career start, Everything Bling breezed to a 3 ¼-length victory in Monday’s ninth race, a maiden-allowance event for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs.

“Definitely high hopes for her,” trainer Danele Durham said. “We started her a little bit late because we knew she was going to be a nice filly. We didn’t need to start her early and pound on her.”

Everything Bling, a gray Texas-bred daughter of Too Much Bling, ran a strong third in her Dec. 6 career debut at Remington Park in Oklahoma City. Durham said Everything Bling might have debuted a “little earlier,” but she colicked last fall at Remington. The filly didn’t undergo surgery for the potentially serious stomach ailment and Durham credits the work of prominent Oklahoma veterinarian Mike Major. Durham said Everything Bling’s stomach “entrapped” and “we were definitely lighting candles.”

“We were very lucky, and praise Dr. Major for the job he did with her for several days to avoid surgery to correct the problem,” Durham said. “It could have ended her career.”

Ridden Monday by two-time defending Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr., Everything Bling stalked the front-runners through a :46.22 half-mile before taking command on the outside in the upper stretch. She covered six furlongs over a fast track in 1:11.35 and paid $6.80 as the 2-1 favorite.

Durham said she wasn’t surprised how well Everything Bling ran in her 3-year-old debut.

“This filly from Day 1, I mean, she’s just had that attitude of a nice filly and she’s trained really well,” Durham said. “We expect some good things from her.”

However, Durham said she’s in no rush to tackle stakes company with the lightly raced filly and plans to try an entry-level allowance spot next – “probably” another sprint.

“She’s got the physical ability, but I don’t want to blow her mind mentally,” Durham said. “We would like to stretch her out, get some distance. But I haven’t decided when yet.”

Durham also trains Texas Bling, who scored his biggest career victory in the $300,000 Springboard Mile in December 2012 at Remington. Texas Bling, who went off at 128-1, toppled eventual champion Will Take Charge in that race. Durham said he is at Oaklawn preparing for his 5-year-old debut.

Both Texas Bling and Everything Bling race for Durham’s major client, Lewis Hall.
 
Finish Lines

Grade I winner The Big Beast worked a half-mile in :47.80 after the break Saturday morning for trainer Tony Dutrow, who plans to start the 4-year-old colt twice at the meeting, including the $300,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 9. … Zee Bros, scheduled to make his next start in the $100,000 King Cotton Stakes Feb. 7, worked five furlongs after the break in 1:02.80 Saturday morning for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. … Arkansas Razorbacks All-SEC junior tight end Hunter Henry was scheduled to attend Saturday’s races, according to his college classmate Chance Moquett, the son of trainer Ron Moquett. The trainer named a 3-year-old Arkansas-bred gelding after the tight end, but lost him through a $25,000 claim out of Monday’s first race. Hunter Henry, who ran fourth in the sprint for Arkansas-bred maiden-claimers, was taken by Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg. … Moquett is scheduled to send out Grade 3 winner Den’s Legacy for his 5-year-old debut in Thursday’s allowance/optional claiming sprint for older horses. Den’s Legacy moved to Moquett’s barn late last year after previously being based in Southern California with Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. … Ivan Fallunovalot received a preliminary Beyer Speed Figure of 108 for his 8 ¾-length allowance/optional claiming victory sprinting Thursday.

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