Diamond Oops Up Late to Win Phoenix
Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire
Courtesy of Curtis Kalleward of the Racing Dudes
LEXINGTON, KY - Trainer/co-owner Patrick Biancone's Diamond Oops got up late to win Friday's $200,000 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes (G2) at Keeneland.
The Phoenix is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Diamond Oops receiving an automatic berth in the Sprint at Keeneland this November.
Diamond Oops broke from post 4 under Florent Geroux as the 3/1 favorite and settled into a ground-saving stalking position in third as the field entered the far turn.
No Parole led narrowly inside of Empire of Gold through opening fractions of :22.24 and :44.73, but No Parole began to give way as he completed cornering. Tipped out at the top of the stretch, Diamond Oops dug in to gradually eat into the stretch advantage of Empire of Gold, who led at the 1/4 pole but ran on his wrong lead as the wire neared.
Sliding up to take command inside the 1/16 pole, Diamond Oops crossed 3/4 of a length clear while completing the 6-furlong fast dirt dash in 1:09.24.
"I was trying to time it right because when he makes the lead, he’ll throw his heels up a little bit and slow himself down," Geroux said. "I was just trying to time it right. When he saw (Empire of Gold) as his target, I knew we were going to get him."
Echo Town took third by a head over the 2017 race champion Whitmore, while Absolutely Aiden nosed out No Parole for fifth.
Midnight Sands, Mo Dont No, and Lexitonian completed the order of finish.
Shashashakemeup and Edgemont Road were scratched in favor of a cross-entered optional claiming event that ends Keeneland's Saturday card. Copper Town was also scratched.
Diamond Oops' win was his second straight following the Twin Spires Turf Sprint Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs and improved his overall record to 16-7-3-1. The 5-year-old Lookin At Lucky gelding became racing's newest millionaire, upping his earnings mark to $1,058,590 for co-owners Diamond 100 Racing Club, Amy Dunne, D P Racing, and Patrick Biancone Racing.
"I have my full faith in him," said assistant trainer Andie Biancone. "Any time he hits that 1/4 pole and there’s a horse in front of him, I know he’s going to catch him. He has the biggest heart; that’s the real reason he’s so good on both surfaces, he has a heart that can overcome anything."
Diamond Oops returned $8.60 to win, $5.20 to place, and $3.60 to show. Empire of Gold brought back $33 to place and $11 to show, while Echo Town paid $4.40 to show.
For more coverage of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, head over to racingdudes.com.
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