Diodoro Off To Fast Start At Oaklawn:’ Things Have Just Come Together’

Robertino Diodoro has been Oaklawn’s second-leading trainer the last three years and is off to a strong start at the Hot Springs, Ark., track’s scheduled 57-day meeting in 2020 (Jan. 24-May 2).

After the first six racing days, Diodoro topped the standings with seven victories, highlighted by stakes scores from Pioneer Spirit in the second division of the $100,000 Fifth Season for older horses Jan. 25 and Special Relativity in last Saturday’s $125,000 American Beauty for older female sprinters.

“Sixty days before the meet, I was thinking that maybe we should be going to Delta or Sam Houston because we had a very weak barn,” Diodoro said during training hours Sunday morning. “Things have just come together. We picked up one or two new horses here and there from some new clients and made claims and a lot of private purchases the last 60 days before the meet that have beefed up the stable.”

Pioneer Spirit, for example, is 2-for-2 (both stakes) after Diodoro claimed the son of Malibu Moon for $150,000 Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs. Pioneer Spirit is co-owned by one of those new clients, New Yorker Lawrence P. Roman, whose first career Oaklawn starters coincided with his first trip to Oaklawn, Diodoro said. After Pioneer Spirit’s victory in the Fifth Season, Roman, as sole owner, won a Jan. 25 allowance sprint with What a Fox to cap the late daily double for the owner and trainer.

“He loved it here,” Diodoro said.

What a Fox is entered in an allowance race Friday, and Diodoro said Pioneer Spirit remains under consideration for the $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) at 1 1/16 miles Feb. 17.

Diodoro called the American Beauty “special” because it marked the first career stakes victory in Hot Springs for his major client, M and M Racing (Mike and Mickala Sisk). M and M collected Oaklawn’s owner’s titles in 2018 and 2019, setting a single-season total for victories (61) last year. Special Relativity won the 6-furlong American Beauty a week after finishing second in the $100,000 Pippin Stakes at a mile.

Diodoro said it’s a training move he’s attempted before, but only with cheap horses.

“Never done this with a good horse,” Diodoro said. “I’ll give Ike Green some credit for that. He’s the one that came up with the idea, my assistant. He came up with it right after she ran the other day.”

Diodoro said Special Relativity came out of her 4 ¼-length American Beauty victory “unbelievable” physically, but she was already booked to Into Mischief and has been retired to be bred to North America’s leading sire in 2019.

“She ran huge,” Diodoro said. “Just kind of wraps up who she is. Always gives you 100 percent. Big mare. That was good.”

A 5-year-old daughter of Cowboy Cal, Special Relativity retires with an 8-5-6 record from 26 lifetime starts and earnings of $535,900. She was an allowance winner at the 2019 Oaklawn meeting and captured the $100,000 Shine Again Stakes July 31 at Saratoga.

Diodoro bids for his third stakes victory of the meeting in Saturday’s $125,000 King Cotton for older sprinters with Silver Ride, an opening-day allowance/optional claiming winner.

Diodoro has increased his victory at every Oaklawn meet since he began racing in Hot Springs in 2015 (nine wins). He won 22 races in 2016, 31 in 2017, 32 in 2018 and 48 last year. Diodoro entered Thursday with 149 career victories, including seven stakes, at Oaklawn.

The post Diodoro Off To Fast Start At Oaklawn:’ Things Have Just Come Together’ appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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