Holds Off Late-Running Kaigun to Capture Turf Stakes
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Racing near the lead from the outset, Groupo 7C Racing Stable’s Grand Tito took command approaching the stretch and held off late-running Kaigun to win the $200,000 Mac Diarmida (G2) Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
The 21st running of the 1 3/8-mile Mac Diarmida was the last of three graded stakes on Saturday’s 13-race program, following the $150,000 The Very One (G3) and the $500,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2).
Sent off at odds of 9-1 in the field of seven older grass horses, Grand Tito ($20.40) hit the wire in 2:12.55 over a firm turf course for his second victory at the Championship Meet since returning from a 4 ½-month layoff. It was his second career graded stakes win, following the 2014 Miami Mile Handicap (G3) at Gulfstream Park West.
“He is nice horse,” winning trainer Gustavo Delgado said. “After his race at Keeneland we gave him four months and now he’s had two nice races. He’s a very nice horse. We are very proud of him.”
Jockey Emisael Jaramillo, aboard for both wins this winter, was riding at Gulfstream for the first time since Feb. 28, missing the previous two racing days getting his visa in order to travel to Dubai for mounts on Mongolian Saturday and X Y Jet on the March 26 World Cup program.
“He’s a very nice horse,” Jaramillo said. “Everything went well. It was nice to win.”
Jaramillo settled Grand Tito, making his first start at 1 3/8 miles, behind 50-1 pacesetter O’Prado Ole through a quarter-mile in 23.89 seconds, a half in 48.88 and six furlongs in 1:14.28 with All Included and Da Big Hoss close behind. Kaigun saved ground along the rail from post one, while Mr Maybe, the 9-5 favorite trained by Chad Brown, trailed the group early.
After running a mile in 1:38.06, O’Prado Ole began to weaken as Grand Tito launched his bid on the outside around the far turn and surged to the lead. Joe Bravo swung Kaigun to the center of the track but was unable to catch the winner, finishing 1 ¼ lengths back in second. Mr Maybe split horses in deep stretch to get third, a half-length in front of O’Prado Ole. Da Big Hoss, All Included and 2014 Mac Diarmida winner Twilight Eclipse completed the field.
“That’s the best horse we have in the barn, for sure,” assistant trainer Gustavo Delgado Jr. said. “Last year he got beat by some good horses. He had a nice race in Saratoga behind Ironicus when he set the track record. This year he is showing us a little more. We’re very happy.”
Delgado and Jaramillo, both natives of Venezuela, have teamed up together for much success in their native country. A multiple winner of Venezuela’s Triple Crown, Delgado came to the U.S. last year while Jaramillo, the country’s all-time leading rider, is in South Florida for the first time.
“Jaramillo and my father used to win a lot of races together down in the Caribbean. They have all the records down there,” Delgado Jr. said. “Now they’re doing it here. It’s amazing.”