Mandella Continues Native Diver Dominance

Mandella Continues Native Diver Dominance
Photo: Benoit
Olmodavor gave Richard Mandella his seventh Native Diver victory.
Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella continued his dominance in the Native Diver Handicap when Olmodavor won the grade III race Saturday. The win by the Wertheimer Farm homebred marked a record seventh Native Diver win for Mandella.

Racing without blinkers for the first time in his career, Olmodavor was last early in the five-horse field and began making up ground rounding the second turn and caught Nose the Trade late for a half-length victory. The 6-5 favorite, Olmodavor completed 1 1/8 miles on the main track in 1:49 and paid $4.40, $2.80 and $2.40. Nose the Trade paid $3.80 and $2.40, while Chinkapin finished third and paid $2.60.

"I was lying back there early, eating mud, and waiting for the right opportunity to make our move," said jockey Alex Solis, who has ridden Olmodavor in all but his first start. "During the early part of the race, I thought I was going to win easy because I felt they were going a good pace up front. But when we got to the three-sixteenths pole, the horse in front (Nose The Trade) kicked in another gear. Luckily, I hit my horse a couple of time, and he took off down the stretch."

Olmodavor was saddled by assistant trainer Becky Witzman because Mandella missed an out-of-town flight connection.

A 4-year-old son of A. P. Indy -- Corrazona (by El Gran Senor), Olmodavor was unraced at two and has since won four of nine lifetime starts at ages three and four. The Native Diver was the first stakes win for the colt, who first earned black type when finishing second to Medaglia d' Oro in the Strub Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita last winter. The colt subsequently finished second to Mineshaft in the New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) before being sidelined for more than seven months. Upon his return, Olmodavor was fifth, only 1 1/2 lengths behind winner Our New Recruit, in a 6 1/2-furlong test at Santa Anita on Oct. 26. Oilmodavor has now earned $339,540.

(Chart, Equibase)

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