A 5-year-old son of Notebook, Diamond Stripes entered the Mile off a fourth-place finish in the Sunshine Millions Classic Jan. 26 at Santa Anita. The Florida-bred gelding was winless in his last three starts, with his last triumph coming Oct. 5 in the Meadowlands Cup Handicap (gr. II).
In the Mile, Diamond Stripes stayed close to the pace throughout, and was part of a five-way duel for the early lead. Also near the front through the backstretch were J. Paul Reddam’s Barcola, Irish-bred Green Coast and Rosberg.
Positioned near the fence by Prado, Diamond Stripes struck the lead as the field of 14 came out of the turn. However, his lead in the stretch was initially brief, as 40-1 longshot Rosberg came from his outside to take over in upper stretch, the 7-year-old Kentucky-bred extending his lead to two lengths.
But Diamond Stripes was not done yet. He found more along the rail and battled through with a half-furlong to go. The Richard Dutrow trainee held off Godolphin’s Elusive Warning, who came with a late bid to get second. Don Renato won the third-place photo over Rosberg.
The final time was 1:36.96.
“The main thing is that he broke well and then I comfortably got him into the position I wanted to be,” Prado said after his first race in the United Arab Emirates. “He always tries hard. He fought hard all the way. I’m really proud of him.”
Going off at odds of 3-1, Diamond Stripes paid $8.60 and $3 (There was no show betting). The exacta (8-13) was worth $30.60.
Bred by Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Rogers Jr., Diamond Stripes is out of the On to Glory mare Romantic Summer. He is now 6-0-4 from 12 career starts and has three blacktype victories. The victory pushed his earnings to more than $1.4 million.
"When he started coming back on the leader, I knew they were in trouble,” said Dutrow, who watched the race on television in a suite at Gulfstream Park. “When he starts coming on like that nobody is getting past him and, with no late comers, I knew they were in trouble.
“I think the one-turn mile was the thing that made the difference today. We might have been trying to push him a little farther than he wanted to go with his mile-and-an-eighth races. Now we have to think about the Met Mile (gr. I, May 26 at Belmont Park). There aren’t too many big handicap horses in the division this year. It looks like this is his distance. They always talk about having to wait with horses coming back from Dubai, but we’ll see if the Met Mile would be about right.”