Harris Farms' Spot the Diplomat, the 8-5 favorite under Del Mar's defending riding champion Victor Espinoza, held on resolutely through the stretch to win Wednesday's $133,400 Graduation Stakes for California-bred 2-year-olds. Always well-placed in the 5 ½ furlong sprint, Spot the Diplomat took command in the stretch and went on to post a 1 ¼-length triumph in 1:04.20 for the distance. River Echo, also owned by Harris Farms and the second choice at 2-1, nosed out Twin Fin for the runner-up spot, with Zoning In fourth in the field of six youngsters. Withdrawn from the original field were Loyal Navigator and Uartaphoneme. Spot the Diplomat, a son of Worldly Manner trained by Carla Gaines, earned $80,040 with his second win in three starts. He broke his maiden in his second start at Hollywood Park July 8.Spot the Diplomat paid $5.40, $2.80 and $2.40. River Echo returned $3.20 and $2.40, and Twin Fin paid $2.80 to show. Spot the Diplomat was the second of three straight winners for Espinoza, who won the sixth race on Stalking Tiger ($8.60) and the nightcap aboard Victory Sign ($7.60). Attendance was 11,122. (Chart, Equibase)
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