HEAVILY FAVORED CALIFORNIA DIAMOND SHINES BRIGHTLY AS HE TAKES $70,000 SPEAKEASY STAKES BY 2 ¼ LENGTHS; TRAINED BY MILLER & RIDDEN BY DESORMEAUX, HE GETS SIX FURLONGS IN 1:10.96
ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 16, 2016)–Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, heavily favored California Diamond rolled to a 2 ¼ length win in Sunday’s $70,000 Speakeasy Stakes, a six furlong affair for 2-year-olds. Owned by Rockingham Ranch and trained by Peter Miller, the California-bred by Harbor the Gold covered six furlongs in 1:10.96.
With Crosscheck Carlos and Right Hand Man setting a fast early pace, California Diamond, who came off a restricted stakes win going 6 ½ furlongs at Los Alamitos on Sept. 18, rolled three-wide to the leaders leaving the quarter pole and put Right Hand Man away with consummate ease a sixteenth out.
“He’s really talented,” said Desormeaux, who has ridden California Diamond in his last two starts. “I think the sky’s the limit with him. I was impressed with his performance today. He’s quirky when he makes the lead…I think I’ve got it handled and he won very handily today.”
Off at 3-5 in a field of six (four of whom were Kentucky-bred), California Diamond, who was purchased privately following a win in the 5 ½ furlong Santa Anita Juvenile four starts back on July 9, paid $3.40, $2.80 and $2.10.
“Kent’s been breezing him,” said Miller. “He comes down to San Luis Rey once a week and I think that’s been a big help, for both the rider and the horse…One thing we’re worried about is that he pulls himself up. He hits the lead and he thinks his job is done. We’ve got to work on breaking that bad habit.”
With two seconds and as many wins in four stakes engagements for his new connections, California Diamond is now 6-4-2-0 overall. With the Speakeasy winner’s share of $55,680, he now has earnings of $267,780.
“I have to give credit to Rafael (Becerra, Jr.), he picked this horse out for us,” said Gary Hartunian, who races as Rockingham Ranch. “The plan is to run back in the Golden State Juvenile going seven eighths here on Nov. 5. We’re going to try to stay with Cal-breds as long as we can.”
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Right Hand Man finished 2 ½ lengths in front of Silver Assault. Off at 15-1, Right Hand Man paid $7.60 and $3.00.
The second choice in the wagering at 9-5, Silver Assault, who was last leaving the quarter, ran on well in a better than looked effort, finishing 4 ¼ lengths clear of Crosscheck Carlos and paid $2.60 to show.
Fractions on the race were 21.83, 45.26 and 57.86.