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Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 2 Mac Diarmida Stakes comes our way this Saturday, February 21 from Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Beach Florida. Horses four years old and upward will take to Gulfstream's turf track and race 1 3/8 miles in search of the winner's share of the $200,000 purse.
Eight older horses will give it a go in the Mac Diarmida - race 9 on Gulfstream's busy Saturday card. Post time is 4:30 PM. Let's take a glance into the past performances of all eight entries for this Grade 2 stakes.
Main Sequence - Eclipse Award winner as champion Male Turf Horse and champion Older Male - H Graham Motion trained gelding made his North American debut July 6 and posted the upset win in the 1 3/8 mile Grade 1 United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park at 8-1 odds and has reeled off three straight wins since - the best coming last time out in the Breeders' Cup Turf. The other wins include the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga August 17 and the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont Park September 27. That makes four North American starts and four Grade 1 scores. He recorded four wins, three seconds and three third place finishes at home before his tremendous debut here including a runner-up finish in the Group 1 Epsom Derby in England. Main Sequence now has eight wins, three seconds and three third place finishes in 18 career starts and enters this weekend on fire. Rajiv Maragh rides the 123 top weight and obvious favorite from the rail.
Twilight Eclipse - is defending champion in this race and is the world record holder at 1 1/2 miles on turf - at last year's Pan American Stakes at Gulfstream. He won the Grade 2 William McKnight Handicap at 12 furlongs December 28, 2013 in wire-to-wire fashion by seven lengths and went on to the 2014 Mac Diarmida Stakes score. He then took his show to Dubai where he finished a disappointing twelfth in a Group 1 stakes and returned to North America June 6 and finished a fourth in the minor Belmont Gold Cup Invitational. He's placed in four straight ahead of this race however losing by a total of 2 1/2 lengths in the four. A third behind Main Sequence last time out in the Breeders' Cup Turf followed a second behind Main Sequence in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Classic at Belmont Park September 27, an OK third behind Main Sequence in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga August 17 and a decent second as favorite behind Main Sequence in the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes July 6. He has 21 career starts with six wins, four seconds and three third place finishes and has looked decent the last six months. Twilight Eclipse looks to finally get the better of his chief rival with Javier Castellano in the irons from gate 6.
Divine Oath - Todd Pletcher trained colt has five wins, a second and a third place finish in nine career starts - three wins in his last five starts. Last time out was one of those wins - the Grade 3 WL McKnight Handicap December 27 on this track which followed a third in the Grade 2 Twilight Derby at Santa Anita in October and a win in the Grade 3 Kent Stakes in September at Hollywood Park. He also posted a nice win in the Grade 3 American Derby at Arlington July 12 and a good second in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland in April. Divine Oath has sprinkled in some unflattering results as well but for the most part has been very competitive in his short career. He looks for his third graded stakes win in four starts and his fourth win in four starts on this track Saturday when he leaves from post 7 with John Velazquez guiding him.
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Artic North - finished third in the Grade 2 San Gabriel Stakes in January, 2014 but hasn't seen graded stakes action since. He enters having placed in his last four starts overall however. Last time out was a second in the minor H. Allen Jerkins Stakes on this track January 31 after an Allowance Optional Claiming score in October, a second, and a third in similar races this past summer. Artic North has 14 career starts with three wins, two seconds and two third place finishes and looks for his first graded stakes score from post 3 Saturday.
Money Talker - Sid Attard trained gelding made his stakes debut in August and finished an OK second in the Grade 2 Sky Classic Stakes at Woodbine. He has two starts since - both at Woodbine - a fourth in an Allowance Optional Claiming and a win in a similar race last time out October 10. He now has 23 career starts with five wins, two seconds and two third place finishes and enters in the best form or his career - two wins and a third in his last four starts overall. Rafael Manuel Hernandez will be in charge in Money Talker's first race in four months from gate 2.
Change of Command - has 32 career starts for trainer Jorge Navarro with nine wins, six seconds and six third place finishes and has failed to place in two graded stakes starts. He enters off an Allowance Optional Claiming score January 16 (his first win in 19 months) and a second in a similar race December 20 - both results on this track. Change of Command looks as though he will be in tough Saturday from gate 4 with Gabriel Saez in the irons.
Shiva Ryan - has 15 career starts with just one win, a second and a three third place finishes. He hasn't looked good lately - consecutive eleventh place finishes - an Allowance last time out and the Grade 2 Ft. Lauderdale Stakes followed a sixth in an Allowance here December 7, a tenth in the Grade 3 Commonwealth Turf Stakes in November and a third in the minor Showing Up Stakes in October. He looks overmatched in this one when she leaves from post 5 with Eduardo Nunez in the saddle.
Marqueteer - Anna Varsi trained colt has yet to register a win in nine career starts but has a second and two third place finishes. He makes his stakes debut Saturday off a fourth in a MSW here January 23 and a third in a Maiden Claiming also on this track January 2. Not a whole lot is expected when Marqueteer departs from the outside post with Edgar Prado in the irons.
Race 9 on Gulfstream Park's Saturday card with a Post Time of 4:30 PM.
|1||Main Sequence||R. Maragh||H. Motion|
|2||Money Talker||R. Hernandez||S. Attard|
|3||Artic North||P. Lopez||P. Reynolds|
|4||Change of Command||G. Saez||J. Navarro|
|5||Shiva Ryan||M. Vasquez||M. Jehaludi|
|6||Twilight Eclipse||J. Castellano||T. Albertrani|
|7||Divine Oath||J. Velazquez||T. Pletcher|
|8||Marqueteer||P. Monterrey, Jr.||A. Varsi|
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