Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 2 Mac Diarmida Stakes is on tap for Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach Florida this Saturday, February 15. A purse of $200,000 will be on the line for horses four years and upward willing to go 1 3/8 miles on Gulfstream's dirt track.
A field of 10 older horses will line up in the Mac Diarmida - race 10 on Gulfstream's Saturday schedule. Post time is 5:03 PM. Let's take a brief glance into the credentials of all 10 combatants for this Grade 2 stakes.
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2014 Mac Diarmida Stakes Race Favorite Entries
Twilight Eclipse - is the world record holder at 1 1/2 miles on turf coming off a terrific win in the Grade 2 William McKnight Handicap at 12 furlongs last time out December 28 - a race he won in wire-to-wire fashion by seven lengths. He was fourth in this race last year before he won in the Grade 2 Pan American Stakes at Gulfstream in that world record time March 23 but he followed that with a fifth in the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap at Belmont Park June 8. He then raced to a pair of seconds in the Grade 1 Man o' War Stakes behind Boisterous at Belmont Park July 13 and in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer behind Big Blue Kitten. He had a fifth in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf at Belmont Park September 28 and followed that with a fifth in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic and a sixth in the Breeders' Cup Turf as well. Twilight Eclipse has been a bit up and down but a win last time out has a lot of people believing again. Jose Lezcano has the call from gate 6.
Alpha - had a very good 2012 season which included a second to Gemologist in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial in April 2012 after two straight wins - the Grade 3 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct last February 4 and the Count Fleet Stakes in January. He also won the 2012 Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes on July 28 and recorded a win in a dead heat in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes in August 2012 at Saratoga. He enters this weekend having placed in just one of his last eight graded stakes starts however - a terrific win in the Grade 1 Woodward at Saratoga August 31. Sandwiched around that win is a pair of sixths -in the Grade 1 Jockey Gold Cup and August 3 in the Grade 1 Whitney. Last time out was a fourth in the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup November 30 after an eighth in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. Alpha hasn't been great in some time but when living up to his potential is a very dangerous entry. Joel Rosario will ride Alpha for the first time Saturday.
Mac Diarmida Stakes 2014 | Remaining Contenders
Slumber - Bill Mott pupil had two wins, a second and two third place finishes in eight starts in Great Britain before debuting in North America in November with a fourth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby. In 2013 he had three starts - an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Saratoga, an OK fourth in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Invitational at Belmont Park September 28 and a sixth in the Grade 1 Pattison Canadian International October 27 at Woodbine. Last time out was an OK fourth in the Grade 2 Ft. Lauderdale Stakes at Gulfstream January 11. Slumber has 13 career starts with four wins, a second and two third place finishes and will be looking for his first stakes score Saturday. A stretch out in distance may do Alpha some good. John Velazquez will be aboard Slumber for the first time.
Amen Kitten - Wesley Ward pupil has 16 starts with two wins, four seconds and three third place finishes. Last time out was a good third in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby December 1 after a terrific win in the minor Tropical Park Derby at Calder October 12, a fifth in the Grade 3 Kentucky Turf Cup September 14 and a sixth in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park. He also had an OK third in the minor Kitten's Joy Stakes at Colonial Downs in July. Amen Kitten is definitely trending upward with a win and a third in his last two starts and will have Javier Castellano in the saddle.
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Suntracer - multiple stakes winner finished third behind Temeraine and Olympic Thunder in the Grade 3 Kentucky Turf Cup but has struggled a tad in two starts since - a fourth in the minor Sycamore Stakes at Keeneland October 7 and a seventh last time out in the Grade 3 WL McKnight Handicap at Calder December 28. This summer he had a pair of seconds including the minor American St. Leger Stakes and the Grade 3 Stars and Stripes Stakes July 13 - both results at Arlington Park. Suntracer had two straight minor stakes wins in 2012 as well but hasn't tasted victory since. He has been a tad inconsistent but hopes are that he can regain form this weekend.
Mucho Mas Macho - won the 2013 Ft. Lauderdale Stakes at 41-1 odds and was eighth in the 2014 edition of that race last time out January 11. He had five starts sin 2013 after the Lauderdale score and failed to place in any of his two graded stakes starts - fifths in the Grade 2 Pan American in March and in the Grade 3 Miami Mile at Calder in April. He did have a close third in the minor Laurel Turf Cup way back on September 21 - his only really decent result in a year.
Dashing David - Irish bred colt makes his North American debut Saturday with 13 career starts - three wins, a second and a third place finish under his belt. He failed to place in his last three starts at home however and enters his first North American start in sketchy form.
Cozy Kitten - is coming off an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Gulfstream January 16 - his first win since a Claiming score in May. Before the win Cozy Kitten had failed to place in four straight Allowance Optional Claiming starts. He has placed in two of five graded stakes starts in his career - a second in the 2010 Grade 3 Bourbon Stakes and a third in the 2011 Grade 2 Oak Tree Derby but he hasn't raced in stakes company in over two years. He makes his jump back into stakes company in so-so form.
Bingo Bango Bongo - has 23 career starts with six wins, six seconds and five third place finishes but Saturday marks his first ever stakes race. He is coming off a second in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Gulfstream November 30 after a seventh and a second respectively in a pair of Allowance races this past summer. Bingo Bango Bongo's last win came in May - an Allowance Optional Claiming at Calder.
Micromanage - Main Track Only entry and Todd Pletcher trained colt has finished second in a pair of minor stakes races in his last two starts - the Traskwood Stakes and Time for a Change Stakes - both at Aqueduct. Before that was a third in the Grade 3 Discovery Handicap in November and a fourth in the Grade 2 Indiana Derby in October. He has three wins, three seconds and two third place finishes in 12 career starts.
2014 Mac Diarmida Stakes Entries & Odds
Race 10 on Gulfstream Park's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:03 PM.
|1||Suntracer||J. Leparoux||C. Block|
|2||Dashing David (IRE)||R. Latchman||S. Joseph, Jr.|
|3||Mucho Mas Macho||A. Jaen||H. Collazo|
|4||Slumber (GB)||J. Velazquez||W. Mott|
|5||Bingo Bango Bongo||J. Rios||J. Catanese, III|
|6||Twilight Eclipse||J. Lezcano||T. Albertrani|
|7||Amen Kitten||J. Castellano||W. Ward|
|8||Cozy Kitten||P. Lopez||M. Wolfson|
|9||Alpha||J. Rosario||K. McLaughlin|
|10||Micromanage||J. Velazquez||T. Pletcher|