Tabby Lane has been in an unfathomable funk for six weeks, One for Zetta continues to take her time in making her debut but Diplo has been stellar since his three year old debut in February. Never has he been worse then 4th in his eight starts and even then only twice. Granted, he only has one win, but since that win he's been second twice in levels higher than his maiden breaking victory.
Saturday he takes on a eight others back on the Hollywood Park turf course in a $32,000 claiming race for 3-year olds going a flat mile.
1. Brother Louis (Gonzalez/Valdez) - First time on the turf, but no stranger to California, he broke his maiden on the artificial surface here last year going a mile and a sixteenth. Since then he has run exclusively in New Mexico bred restricted races finishing fourth each and every time. Moving to a $32,000 claiming race may appear to be class relief, but not when you move from Sunland to Hollywood.
2. Otto Von Voom (Mullins/Baze) - A new arrival to the Jeff Mullins barn some improvement should be looked for here, especially coming down from an $80,000 Optional Claiming race. Turf Paradise races were excellent and appears to be a more natural miler.
3. Ministers Power (Bonde/Espinoza) - First trip over the strip was in a state bred $43,000 Allowance last out but was fourth at this level at Santa Anita in March. Has won easily up north at lower levels but this is a different kettle of fish.
4. Keen Bidder (Lloyd/Talamo) - Has shown nothing since coming to America. Big drop into this one to try and make something happen.
5. Saravas Wild Again (Knight/Quinonez) - Outfought by Diplo down the stretch last out to be denied second place. Cuts back to a mile and will definitely be in the mix here.
6. Rock Solid Charm (McAnally/Rosario) - Moving south but moving up. Never count out Ron McAnally, but this will be tough.
7. DIPLO (O'NEILL/PEDROZA)
8. Jacob's Tiger (Puype/Gonzalez) - Been trying better but not having a lot of success. Stretching out for the first time but has the numbers to go longer. Broke maiden in an MWS, albeit a state bred race. Doesn't appear to be in this group but hard to figure the class angle.
9. Strikingly Sinful (Becerra/Santiago Reyes) - Hasn't sniffed the winner's circle since maiden win as a two year old and probably won't here.
Ministers Power looks to be the lone early speed in this race though you have to think that sprinters Jacob's Tiger and Strikingly Sinful will go early out of habit if nothing else. This should put Diplo in a nice stalking position for most of the race. One thing we've learned about him over the past few months is that he does not give up and he is one game gelding. He is actually the choice of the DRF in this one, which never fails to make me nervous, but I have to agree that he looks good - not 3-5 good, but he belongs and he's ready but races aren't won on paper and once the gates open anything can happen.