The road to the Triple Crown marches on, but across the country, thousands of racehorses that have no chance of being in Louisville the first Saturday in May are still loading into starting gates and hoping to be late bloomers. One of those heading to post on Sunday is our friend Diplo at Santa Anita. After a few weeks off, Diplo is back in action taking on a full field of 11 other maiden three year olds going seven furlongs over the Pro-Ride in a $32,000 Maiden Claiming race. Here is how the field breaks down:
1 Bog Wags (Glatt/Espinosa): Dropping in from two subpar efforts in MSWs. Didn't turn many heads, but these droppers can always step up against lesser.
2 Dr. Tong (Stein/Atkinson): Was as close as he's ever been last out at this level, but was still beaten by 5 horses and 6 1/4 lengths.
3 Jenary Joe (Robbins/Flores): 1st time starter (Ronton-Dear Delilah-Expelled) has shown little in his workout pattern to indicate he's ready to strike first out.
4 Summers At Delamar (Canani/Talamo): A very solid closing second place finish last out at this level after dropping in from MSW. The extra half furlong may help. Should be dangerous.
5 Chimu (Garcia/Quinones): Lost rider last out coming off an improved second effort at this level. If all is OK upstairs, should be in the mix.
6 Outrageous Fortune (Puype/Stherland): The other 1st timer in the group (Event of the Year-Half Moon Bay-Bertrando), but he's out of a barn that hits 11% 1st timers and 20% the first time entered in a MCL. Workout pattern is solid. Should be ready to fire.
7 Sky'squickscore (Stute/Rosario): Both attempts at this level have been solid but not spectacular. Looks like the added half furlong is going to be a hindrance rather than a help.
8 DIPLO (O'NEIL/BEJERANO)
9 Warren's Mr Lucky (Guitterez/Amadore): Has shown little that predicts anything but a back of the pack finish in here.
10 Iotabgray (Powell/Pedroza): Hasn't started since a flat effort at Del Mar last summer. Workout pattern is fine, but nothing to recommend here.
11 Manogold (Cerin/Reyes Santiago): Given the trouble involved last out, his debut wasn't as bad as it looks. Works leading into this are solid and trainer is firing at 25% in second time maiden starts. Could be a nice price.
12 Bettingonthefly (Fanning/Smith): All three tries this year have been an ever closer second. Could be the extra half furling is all he needs. Loses Talamo this time, though.
Can our boy win this race? Yes, he absolutely can. He has improved every start while moving up in class each time. He drops back now to what should be his comfort zone and is fit and healthy. TVG's wags last out wondered if Diplo has the will to win given that he's picked up a check every outing but can never seem to make it to the top. We'll see on Sunday as all indications point to this being his beast chance so far to join the ranks of the winners. A big field never helps and there are certainly some real contenders in here, but I believe he can finally break through this time and chalk up his first (hopefully of many) wins. Best of luck Diplo - come home safely!