I know I didn’t go so far as to say it was now or never for Diplo, but I also knew that it was close. Thankfully on Derby Day now came before never and Diplo scored his first lifetime victory and overcame his “close but no cigar” pattern of 2010.
Under Martin Pedroza – regular rider Rafael Bejerano had a previous commitment in Kentucky this past weekend – Diplo broke smoothly in the middle of the pack and was guided to the rail in the $25,000 Maiden Claiming race at Hollywood Park. Chasing fractions of :22.19 and :45.62, Diplo began making up ground at the half mile pole. Through the turn and into the stretch he seemed to be a bit pinned down inside and I was not sure if he have the running room to get through, even if he had the kick to do it. Pedroza stayed patient and when the front two horses slid out a bit he had his opening and sent Diplo through. I’d like to say he went through the hole like a shot, but under strong urging Diplo gained through the stretch and came eyeball to eyeball with Big Wags. For a few strides it looked as if the last head bob would determine the outcome, but then Diplo pulled ahead and, eventually winning by a half length.
It felt great to get Diplo off the snide. He had been paying his way, which is always nice, but I was happy for him to break through and get that first win. Now that it’s finally out the way, you wonder if a light was just switched on in a previously dark room – “Ohhhh….I’m supposed to be the FIRST one to be done!” I’m not saying that Diplo can carry us to the Breeder’s Cup, obviously, but let’s take a look at our very own Tabby Lane. Since she finally broke her maiden at the $10,000 level after 6 failed attempts at lower levels has had five starts, winning three and coming in second in another and earning $29,106 racing competitively as high as $32,000 Optional Claiming. Sometimes all it takes is that first win to pull it all together for a horse and I’m hoping that’s the case for Diplo. Right now he’ll rest up and we’ll see what’s next for him when he’s ready.