Versatile Diamond Oops Runs Down Longshot Empire Of Gold In Phoenix

Last-out winner of the G2 Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs on Sept. 4, the versatile 3-1 favorite Diamond Oops made the switch back to the dirt on Friday when he won the G3 Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland. The 5-year-old son of Lookin at Lucky ran six furlongs over the fast dirt in 1:09.24, besting 51-1 longshot Empire of Gold by three-quarters of a length on the wire. Trained by Pat Biancone and ridden by Florent Geroux, Diamond Oops is campaigned by the Diamond 100 Racing Club, Amy Dunne, D P Racing and Patrick L. Biancone Racing.

The victory earned Diamond Oops an expenses-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint next month, also at Keeneland.

“It’s remarkable,” Geroux said. “He’s a tremendous horse, and he can even run longer if you ask him. He runs on any surface. It’s rare to run as good as he did last time on the turf at Churchill and now winning a major prep for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.”

Grade 1 winner No Parole sped out of the starting gate to grab the early lead, while Remington Park invader Empire of Gold moved up to add pressure through early fractions of :22.24 and :44.73. Echo Town and Diamond Oops were just behind the frontrunners early, while veteran Whitmore and Ohio-bred millionaire Mo Don’t No tracked in mid-pack.

Rounding the far turn, Empire of Gold grabbed the lead away from No Parole and opened up by several lengths. Diamond Oops took up the chase, but looked to have too much to do with three-sixteenths of a mile to run.

Instead, when Geroux gave the gelding his cue, Diamond Oops dug in gamely and drew even with his rival. Empire of Gold switched to the wrong lead late, trying to find more, but Diamond Oops pushed past to hit the wire three-quarters of a length in front. Empire of Gold had to settle for second, while Echo Town was game late to deny Whitmore for third. Absolutely Aiden was fifth.

“I have my full faith in him,” said Andie Biancone, assistant to her father. “Any time he hits that quarter 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 is he has a heart that can overcome anything.”

Bred in Kentucky by Kin Hui Racing Stables, Diamond Oops is out of the stakes-winning Whywhywhy mare Patriotic Viva. He started showing up in a big way last year, winning the G3 Smile Sprint on dirt before running second in both the G1 Vanderbilt (dirt) and the G1 Shadwell Turf Mile. He was eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile before rebounding to win the G3 Mr. Prospector.

This year, Diamond Oops has not finished worse than fourth in four starts, and his overall record stands at 7-3-1 from 16 starts for earnings of over $1 million.

Of the Terry Eoff-trained longshot Empire of Gold’s big effort, jockey Declan Carrol said: “We were up against it. 3-year-olds versus older, and we all know how hard that is to do. We got beat by a very nice horse. (Empire of Gold) comes from Remington Park, where the stretch is a little shorter. If I rode the race again, I would have waited a bit longer to ask him (for more) run (after) I had put No Parole away early. That could have made the difference.”

The post Versatile Diamond Oops Runs Down Longshot Empire Of Gold In Phoenix appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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