Emirates Airline Maryland Sprint H. (gr. III)

(gr. III , 6f ,)

DIABOLICAL (CH h, 120 lb) $120,000
Artax —Bonnie Byerly , by Dayjur
B—Longleaf Pine Farm, KY.; O—Puglisi Racing, LLC and Klesaris, Steve; T—Steve Klesaris

Talent Search (CH h, 115 lb) $40,000
Catienus —Mrs. K. , by Dixieland Band
B—Sarah K. Ramsey, KY.; O—Ramsey, Kenneth L. and Sarah K.; T—Mark Shuman

Semaphore Man (DK B/ g, 116 lb) $22,000
Formal Gold —Semaphore Ms. , by Lost Code
B—Mr. & Mrs. John D. Murphy, KY.; O—Double Bogey Stable; T—Kelly R. Von Hemel

Margins: ¾, 1½, 5. Others: First Word 114($12,000) , Celtic Innis 114($4,500) , Fleet Valid 116 , Euro Code 115 . Winning Jockey, Mario G. Pino.

Puglisi Stables and Steve Klesaris’ Diabolical earned his first graded stakes win in Pimlico’s Emirates Airline Maryland Breeders’ Cup Sprint Handicap (gr. III) May 19, and tied the track record while he was at it. Dueling with speed horse Talent Search from the gate, Diabolical crossed the wire three-quarters of a length ahead in 1:09.16, equaling the track record for six furlongs set by Northern Wolf in 1990. Trainer Klesaris was absent from the race due to an automobile accident the day before.

“We had to win today. At 4-5, he better win,” said co-owner Jeff Puglisi. “He’s faced a lot of tough competition in his last two races. It’s been one war after another. He’s 1-2-3 every race. Steve (Klesaris) had a little fender bender yesterday—actually a little more than that. He’s pretty banged up and sore today. I’m sure he’d have liked to have been there.”

Puglisi and Klesaris co-own the racing operation which has expanded from a small claiming barn to a stakes-winning barn with 65 horses in training since the partnership was created. Klesaris trains all of the horses, including Diabolical, who the pair bought for $300,000 at the 2005 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s February sale of 2-year-olds in training.

Diabolical has been in the money 15 of his 18 starts and after his loss in the 2006 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), he won the Stanton and Nick Shuk Memorial Stakes and Gallant Bob Handicap last year.

The 4-year-old colt was bred by Shirley Lathrop’s Longleaf Pine Farm, located near Southern Pines, N.C., and is out of the Dayjur mare Bonnie Byerly, whose dam, Plenty of Grace (by Roberto), won or placed in 10 stakes races throughout her career. She won the Yellow Ribbon Invitational Stakes (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park in 1990 as well as the Diana Handicap (gr. IIT) at Saratoga the following year. Her dam, Wings of Grace (by Key to the Mint), was also a graded stakes winner.

Plenty of Grace produced nine foals including Bonnie Byerly. Diabolical was Bonnie Byerly’s first stakes winner; however, her Unbridled filly Risky Double went on to produce the Successful Appeal filly Chagall, who placed second in the Debutante Stakes (gr. III). Bonnie Byerly is owned by Lathrop’s Longleaf Pine Farm and was purchased by Blackburn Farm, agent, at the 2001 Keeneland January mixed sale in foal to Pulpit for $330,000. Lathrop keeps her broodmares at Michael Burnett’s Blackburn Farm, located near Midway, Ky. Bonnie Byerly is in foal to Speightstown.

Artax is the sire of six stakes winners including other 2007 added-money winner Magnetic Miss. Artax stands at Keane Stud near Amenia, N.Y., for a fee of $6,500.—K.B.