Charlotte Musgrave’s Diamond Tycoon, far back for most of the way, came charging down the center of the racetrack under Julien Leparoux to take the $125,000 Fair Grounds Handicap (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) Feb. 7.
Trained by Andrew McKeever, Diamond Tycoon won the 1 1/8-mile turf event by 1 1/4 lengths while making his North American stakes debut. The 5-year-old son of Johannesburg has now won three consecutive races – all in New Orleans.
Jimmy Simms took the field around for most of the way while not working very hard. The Steve Asmussen trainee got away with splits of :25.22, :52.01, and 1:16.46 under Shaun Bridgmohan. He was tracked the whole way by Corrupt, who finally pulled even with the longtime leader. Those two dueled through the final furlong, but eating up ground from the middle of the racetrack were Diamond Tycoon and Windward Islands.
Both of the closers passed the pacesetters inside the sixteenth-pole, and Diamond Tycoon, who was seventh at the top of the stretch, held on for the victory in a final time of 1:52.12 on the ‘firm’ turf. Windward Islands, part of a coupled entry with French Beret, was runner-up, three parts of a length better than Corrupt. My Happiness was fourth.
Diamond Tycoon, bred in Kentucky by Will Farish, Mansell Stables, and Edmund Odette, is out of the Last Tycoon mare Palacoona. Purchased at the 2006 Tattersall’s breeze up sale for $65,430, he began his racing career in England, winning just one of eight starts.
He was taken over by McKeever and raced twice during the 2008 Keeneland fall meet before shipping to New Orleans. The bay horse won an allowance at Fair Grounds in December and then an optional claimer there on Jan. 15 to begin his 2009 campaign. He is 4-3-0 from 13 starts.
“We changed his style from Kentucky, where he was close,” said McKeever. “He likes to come from behind. It’s going to be hard to leave New Orleans with this horse.”
Sent off as the third choice in a field of eight, Diamond Tycoon paid $9, $4.40, and $3.80. The exacta (5-1A) returned $27.40. The trifecta (5-1A-4) was worth $159.80.