Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 2 Mac Diarmida Stakes is on tap for this Saturday, February 16 from Gulfstream Park in beautiful Hallandale, Florida. Horses four years old and upward will be featured as they go 1 3/8 miles on Gulfstream's turf track in search of the winner's share of the $150,000 purse.
A strong field of 10 has been confirmed for the Mac Diarmida - race 10 on Gulfstream's Saturday schedule. Post time is 5:05 PM. Let's take a look into the past performances of all 10 entries and what brought them to this Grade 2 event.
2013 Mac Diarmida Stakes Race Favorites
Newsdad - is the course record holder here over 1 1/4 miles. He had an impressive victory over Simmard at the Grade 2 Pan American Stakes at Gulfstream in March but struggled after that - a fifth in the Grade 1 Elkhorn in April, a fourth in the Grade 1 Man o' War Stakes in July, a fourth in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer and a fifth two back in the Grade 2 Bowling Green at Belmont Park September 8. Last time out was a huge bounce back effort - a win in the Grade 2 Fayette Stakes at Keeneland October 27. He finished second in this race last year and looks to be in good form for this year's Mac Diarmida.
Amira's Prince - Irish bred colt has looked unstoppable since shipping from Ireland - two straight Allowance Optional Claiming scores on North American soil. He had been trending upward before the move - a third and a pair of seconds in Europe.
Mac Diarmida Stakes 2013 | Remaining Field Entries
Nikki's Sandcastle - has 31 career starts with 8 wins. Had a two race win streak - the El Prado Stakes December 22 here and the Starter Stakes December 1 also on this track interrupted last time out with a fourth as favorite in the Grade 2 Ft. Lauderdale Stakes January 12. Before that he had three second place finishes - two minor stakes races and the Grade 2 Fayette Stakes three back at Keeneland in October behind Newsdad. Distance may be an issue here for Nikki's Sandcastle but she still has to be viewed as a contender.
Twilight Eclipse - won his first two career starts but then fell off to a sixth in the Equalize Stakes, a fifth in the Grade 3 Kent Stakes and a second two back in the minor Temperance Hill Stakes at Belmont Park October 21. He bounced back in a big way last time out with a nice win by 1 3/4 lengths in the Grade 2 W.L. McKnight Handicap at Calder November 24. That makes three wins and a third place finish in six career starts for the Thomas Albertini trained gelding.
Teaks North - came out of nowhere last time out and won the Sunshine Millions Turf Stakes at Gulfstream in wire-to-wire fashion January 19 after a tenth in the El Prado Stakes and a fifth in last year's Sunshine Millions Turf Stakes. He was terrific in the summer of 2011 with 2 graded stakes wins but outside of his win last time out - he hasn't been great. He has been injury prone in the past but when running right is a serious threat.
Mac Diarmida Stakes betting at Gulfstream Park with OffTrackBetting.com
Ioya Bigtime - started 2012 off slowly but enters the Mac Diarmida having placed in four of his last five starts - a win in the Grade 3 Stars and Stripes Stakes at Arlington Park on July 14, a second in the American St. Leger Stakes in August, a win at the Grade 3 Kentucky Turf Cup September 14 and a second in the Grade 2 Sycamore Stakes at Keeneland in October. Last time out was a fourth as favorite in the Grade 2 W.L. McKnight Handicap at Calder November 24 behind Twilight Eclipse.
Lucky Chappy - had a couple of good results under his belt in Grade 3 events in North America after starting his career in Europe - a third in the Grade 3 Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland in October 2011 and a second in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate in February 2012. Lucky Chappy raced March 31 - a seventh in the Grade 2 U.A.E Derby at Meydan Racecourse before returning to North America where he had a second in the Grade 2 Virginia Derby on July 21, a third in the Grade 3 Saranac Stakes at Saratoga and a disappointing seventh in the Grade 3 Kent at Delaware Park September 22. Last time out was an OK third behind Unbridled's Command in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby November 25. He has yet to record a graded stakes win but has been close in the leadup to the Mac Diarmida.
Belo Acteon - Brazilian bred entry had three seconds and two wins at home before shipping to North America. Belo Acteon was third in an Allowance at Keeneland in his debut in North America and followed that with another third in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Belmont Park in May in his only other start here.
Fifty Proof - has 16 career starts with seven wins and five seconds. He had only one start in 2012 which resulted in a terrific wire-to-wire win in the minor Sir Barton Stakes at Woodbine December 2 after 16 months away from racing but last time out struggled to a tenth in the Grade 2 Ft. Lauderdale Stakes here January 12. Back in 2011 Fifty Proof had a pair of wins including the Grade 3 Eclipse Stakes and a pair of seconds in four starts before the long layoff.
Shkspeare Shaliyah - posted consecutive wins toward the end of 2011 but has placed in just two of twelve starts since - a second in the minor Montserrat Stakes four back and the Sunshine Millions Turf behind Teaks North two starts back. Last time out was a fourth in an Allowance Optional Claiming two weeks ago on this track.
2013 Mac Diarmida Stakes Entries & Odds
Race 10 on Gulfstream Park's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:05 PM.
|1||Twilight Eclipse||L. Saez||T. Albertrani|
|2||Newsdad||J. Lezcano||W. Mott|
|3||Lucky Chappy (IRE)||A. Garcia||H. Motion|
|4||Teaks North||E. Prado||M. Nevin|
|5||Belo Acteon (BRZ)||J. Rosario||C. Clement|
|6||Nikki's Sandcastle||C. Lanerie||D. Kassen|
|7||Fifty Proof||L. Contreras||I. Black|
|8||Ioya Bigtime||J. Sanchez||C. Block|
|9||Amira's Prince (IRE)||J. Velazquez||W. Mott|
|10||Shkspeare Shaliyah||J. Castellano||D. Shivmangal|