Diodoro: From the ‘Dandy’ to the Derby

July 30, 2021

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Trainer Robertino Diodoro will saddle graded-stakes winner Keepmeinmind in Saturday’s Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy at Saratoga ahead of a trip to the Manitoba Derby on Monday with recent sale purchase Myopic

The Canadian-born conditioner, originally from Calgary, Alberta, will send out Cypress Creek Equine, Arnold Bennewith and Spendthrift Farm’s Keepmeinmind, a bay son of Laoban, in the nine-furlong Jim Dandy.

The late-running bay graduated in style with a three-quarter length score in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at fourth asking in November at Churchill Downs to close out a 2-year-old campaign that included a second in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity and a third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, both at Keeneland.

After competing in two-thirds of the Triple Crown, finishing seventh in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby and fourth in the Grade 1 Preakness, Keepmeinmind skipped the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets in favor of the nine-furlong Grade 3 Ohio Derby at Thistledown.

Although last-of-9 at the half-mile call under regular pilot David Cohen in the Ohio Derby, Keepmeinmind closed to finished third, defeated a half-length to the victorious Masqueparade.

“He ran well at Thistledown. With two more jumps he’d probably win the race,” Diodoro said.

Keepmeinmind has posted a trio of breezes on the Saratoga main track, including a bullet half-mile in 46.01 on July 24.

Diodoro said the talented colt is enjoying his Saratoga experience.

“He’s training really well here. He’s had three solid works here and I’m very impressed with him. We’re anxious and excited for Saturday,” Diodoro said. “He likes the fresh air here and it’s definitely nice and quiet. He really likes the surface.”

Diodoro said he is hopeful a pace will develop in Saturday’s compact six-horse field when Keepmeinmind exits post 4 under new rider Joel Rosario, who won the 2017 Jim Dandy with Good Samaritan.

“I don’t think you can change much with the horse but at the same time Joel is one of the best riders in the country, so I’m going to leave it up to him,” Diodoro said. “We may need a little pace to run and it looks like there’s a little bit there on paper, so we’ll see. I thought there were three or four that may be forwardly placed, so hopefully a couple of them decide to go ding-donging and give us a pace to run at.”

Diodoro said he will travel north following the Jim Dandy to saddle Myopic in the $100,000 Manitoba Derby, a nine-furlong test for sophomores slated for Monday night at Assiniboia Downs.

Owned by Bennewith with Rick Wiest, Clayton Wiest, Lana Wiest, Randy Howg, R6 Stables and Gary Kropp, Myopic earned an 85 Beyer in his front-running third-out graduation in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight on June 23 for former conditioner Rodolphe Brisset at Indiana Downs

Diodoro, a three-time Manitoba Derby-winner, will look to add to his totals with the $200,000 Fasig-Tipton July Selected Horses of Racing Age Sale purchase.

“We bought the horse out of the Fasig-Tipton sale. He was actually nominated for the Jim Dandy,” Diodoro said. “Usually, those races in Canada are good for horses with route speed and this horse just broke his maiden on the lead going a mile and a sixteenth.”

Diodoro regularly sends horses from his Canterbury Park string to compete at the Winnipeg, Manitoba track but is currently 0-for-3 at the Assiniboia Downs meet.

“The track in Canterbury was very hard and fast and this year the track in Winnipeg is a little deeper than usual. We’ve ran three horses up there this week – all on the lead – and they all got caught,” said Diodoro, with a laugh. “I’m driving up there on Sunday to meet the owners and the race is Monday night. It’ll be a good time and the one owner – Arnie Bennewith – owns a part of Keepmeinmind and Dreamer’s Disease.”

Cypress Creek Equine and Bennewith’s pace-setting Dreamer’s Disease suffered a narrow neck defeat to a rallying Step Dancer in Wednesday’s $150,000 NYSSS Cab Calloway at one mile on the Saratoga inner turf.

“You have to give a lot of credit to the winner. When you watch the replay it wasn’t like we were folding up,” Diodoro said. “The third and fourth-place horses never gained an inch of ground. If anything, we were pulling away but that horse just exploded out of the pack.”

Dreamer’s Disease, by Laoban, was gelded following an off-the-board effort in the NYSSS Spectacular Bid on June 19 at Belmont Park.

“Ever since we gelded him it’s turned this horse around,” Diodoro said. “He might have needed that race, too. He missed a bit of training having the procedure and the race before that he got nothing out of it.”

Flying P Stable’s Lone Rock garnered a career-best 100 Beyer for his last-out 11 1/4-length romp in the 12-furlong Grade 2 Brooklyn presented by Northwell Health on Belmont Stakes Day June 5.

Claimed back for $40,000 out of a winning effort in November at Churchill Downs, Lone Rock won a 1 1/16-mile optional-claimer in February at Oaklawn Park in his next outing.

The 6-year-old Majestic Warrior gelding has since competed exclusively at 1 1/2-miles, finishing second in the Temperence Hill in March ahead of an optional-claiming score on April 11, both at Oaklawn. He returned just 16 days later to capture the Isaac Murphy Marathon Overnight on April 27 ahead of making the grade at Belmont.

Lone Rock also boasts a trio of works at Saratoga, including a bullet half-mile on the main track in 46.60 on July 22 in preparation for the $120,000 Birdstone, a 1 3/4-mile test for older horses on August 5 at the Spa.

“He’s a horse that loves his job and he’s training great. He bounced out of that race like it was nothing,” Diodoro said. “On Belmont day it was a little warm and to run that far, you’d think it would take a little bit out of him but he’s come back like a monster. He’s another one that’s had really good works up here and is ready to go for next week. The way he’s training, I love our chances.”

NYRA Press Office

Photo: Robertino Diodoro (2nd from left) got his 2,000th win at Saratoga on August 8, 2018 with Benefactor under jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr. Diodoro now has 2,727 wins. (NYRA/Coglianese)

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