IEAH Stables’ Diamondrella came from well off the pace and ran down Tizaqueena in the final yards to notch her second grade I victory of the season in the $400,000 First Lady (gr. IT) (VIDEO) Oct. 10 on the Keeneland turf.
Purchased privately by Mike Iavarone only two weeks ago, Diamondrella earned a berth in the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) Nov. 6 at Santa Anita. The 5-year-old daughter of Rock of Gibraltar, who won the Just a Game Stakes (gr. IT) at Belmont two starts back, has delivered in three of four starts this season and in seven of her last eight overall.
Trained by Angel Penna Jr., Diamondrella covered one mile on the soft turf course in 1:38.66 under Rajiv Maragh.
Setting the pace in the First Lady was Hotlantic, who broke from post 7 and took the field of nine around in splits of :24.35, :48.13. She had a clear lead over Cure for Sale and Tizaqueena, and there was a big gap back to the rest of the field. Diamondrella raced mid-pack through the backstretch, while 6-5 favorite Forever Together, last year’s champion female turf horse, was last.
Hotlantic still led when they hit the quarter-pole (1:12.94) and had a three-length lead at the top of the stretch. But Tizaqueena, stalking the whole way under Jamie Theriot, took the lead approaching the sixteenth-pole. Her lead was brief however, as Diamondrella, who launched her four-wide move at the three-eighths-pole, came flying on the outside and got up just in time. She won by three-quarters of a length.
Forever Together also came with a big stretch move under Julien Leparoux but it was too late. They finished three parts of a length back of Tizaqueena in third.
"I was trying to time my move perfectly, trying to wait for the right time, and it just worked out really well," said Maragh. "She gave me a big turn of foot like she always does; very consistent. I know what I've got with her because she always gives it to me."
Diamondrella, making her second start at Keeneland, reeled off six consecutive wins between June, 2008 and June, 2009. The streak was broken in her last start, the Presque Isle Masters (gr. III) on Sept. 12 when she finished sixth. Overall, the 5-year-old mare has produced an 8-2-1 record from 17 starts and earnings of $784,576.
Bred in Great Britain by William S. Farish, the bay is out of the Dixieland Band mare Tap Your Feet.
Sent off as the second choice, Diamondrella paid $7.20, $5.20, and $.280. The exacta (8-4) returned $80.60 and the trifecta (8-4-5) was $168.
Cure for Sale finished fourth, followed by My Princess Jess, Hotlantic, Superior Storm, Danzon, and Acoma.
Of Forever Together's effort, trainer Jonathan Sheppard said: I thought she ran a tremendous race. She got kind of boxed in a little bit and had to drop back a little too far to get out just going the flat mile. I'm proud of her, I thought she ran well."