Broadway Empire cruises to victory in the Canadian Derby.

Broadway Empire cruises to victory in the Canadian Derby.

Lesley Gregory

Broadway Empire Smash Hit in Canadian Derby

Favorite overpowers field at Northlands Park to post three-length victory Aug. 17.

Favored Broadway Empire opened an insurmountable lead on his 11 opponents in the $194,272 Canadian Derby (Can-III) and cruised to a three-length victory under Rico W. Walcott Aug. 17 at Northlands Park in Edmonton, Alberta (VIDEO).

Broadway Empire had never been farther than 1 1/16 miles in his four-race career, but relaxed nicely off the pace to negotiate the 1 3/8-mile distance in 2:19 3/5 over a sloppy track.

Given his cue by Walcott on the backstretch the second time around on Northlands' five-furlong oval, Broadway Empire shot by pacesetter Success Rate and Title Contender and opened a seven-length advantage in the stretch.

"I looked behind me and I didn't see anyone," Walcott told the Edmonton Journal. "I got pretty frigging excited."

Reporting Star, who emerged from the pack on the final turn to chase the winner home, was never a threat while finishing second by 6 1/2 lengths with Richard Hamel aboard. Shooting Jacket was third.

A smashing 7 1/4-length winner of a key Canadian Derby prep, the July 6 Ky Alta Handicap, Broadway Empire is trained by Alberta native Robert Diodoro for owners Bob Butz, Randy Howg, and Rick Running Rabbit.

The imposing son of Empire Maker  out of the Belong to Me mare Broadway Hoofer, Broadway Empire was purchased privately for a reported $25,000 from Bob Bone and breeder Mercedes Stable in February.

The bay gelding made his debut March 18 with a 16 1/2-length maiden score at Turf Paradise. Shipped to Betfair Hollywood Park after that, he ran second in the Came Home Stakes before weakening to sixth in the Affirmed Handicap (gr. III) June 2. The bay gelding moved to Canada after that.

"He really is special," Diodoro told the Edmonton Journal. "I've never had a horse like this before. I get goosebumps just watching him work. Even when he was in California, he would be working and there would be a couple of Bob Baffert's horses working in front of him that had earned a million dollars apiece and Broadway Empire still stood out for me."

In posting his third win from five starts, Broadway Empire paid $5, $3.40, and $3.10. Reporting Star returned $6.30 and $4.10 while completing an exacta worth $24.30. Shooting Legend paid $5.40.

For Cash was fourth, followed by Deadly Truth, Just Win Baby, Skimmer Jim, Two to Load, Success Rate, Risky Call, Title Contender, and Smart Promotion.