Diodoro Becomes Third Trainer To Have Multiple 50-Victory Seasons at Oaklawn

April 8, 2023

Robertino Diodoro (Coady Photography)

Oaklawn Barn Notes by Robert Yates

HOT SPRINGS, Ark.— Robertino Diodoro became just the third trainer to reach 50 victories multiple times at an Oaklawn meeting when favored Great Escape won Friday’s ninth race, a $106,000 allowance for older horses at 1 mile.

Great Escape ($6.40) represented the meet-high 50th victory for Diodoro, who is seeking his second career Oaklawn training title. He won 51 races in 2020 to lead the Oaklawn standings for the first time.

“It’s been a good meet,” Diodoro said Friday morning. “I think the most important part is the end. Let’s finish strong. I think that’s what everybody remembers the most.”

Diodoro joined the late Cole Norman and Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen as the only trainers to have multiple 50-victory seasons at Oaklawn. Norman won 71 races, a single-season Oaklawn record, in 2003, 56 races in 2004 and 62 races in 2005. Asmussen won 64 races in 2019, 60 races in 2021 and 65 races in 2021-2022. David Vance is the only other trainer in Oaklawn history with 50 victories in a season. Vance won 50 races during the 50-day meeting in 1974, which marked his third of four Oaklawn training titles. Norman won six consecutive Oaklawn training titles (2001-2006).

Diodoro entered Saturday, Day 56 of the scheduled 68-day Oaklawn meeting, with a comfortable lead in the standings. Diodoro (50 victories) topped Asmussen (37) and Chris Hartman (34). Asmussen has collected a record 12 Oaklawn training titles, while Hartman was Oaklawn’s leading trainer in 2015.

“I think we’ve still got a lot of decent horses to run,” Diodoro said. “We’ve just got to get a little lucky at the entry box and get a little racing luck and, hopefully, we can finish strong.”

The Canadian-born Diodoro started his first horse at Oaklawn in 2015 and made an immediate impact in the standings. He won 9 of 33 starts, highlighted by his first local stakes victory with the swift Subtle Indian in the $100,000 Gazebo for 3-year-old sprinters. Diodoro won 22 races in 2016 and has finished first or second in the standings at every Oaklawn meeting since 2017.

Diodoro ($2,415,281 through Friday) has already established a single-season Oaklawn personal best for purse earnings. Diodoro (329) ranked as the 11th-winningest trainer in Oaklawn history through Friday.

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