Trained by Robertino Diodoro and piloted by Joel Rosario, the Laoban bay was off a step slow from post 3 and raced behind horses as Midnight Bourbon set a moderate pace before being overtaken by Essential Quality, who prevailed by a neck.
“Nothing really went our way from the break. It was a very slow pace and we got trapped and never really got a clear run until it was way too late,” Diodoro said. “He ate dirt for a long way and when things did open up at the top of the lane, you couldn’t expect him to sprint home against those two horses after they went ;24, ;49 and 1:14. There was no pace to run at, at all.
“I think that’s why Essential Quality had such a tough time getting by Midnight Bourbon down the lane; he walked everyone to sleep,” Diodoro added. “I thought we had him ready to go, but you need racing luck. He cooled out good last night. We’ll let the horse tell us how he is and come up with a plan.”
Cypress Creek Equine and Arnold Bennewith’s maiden-winner Dream Lith worked a half-mile in 48.25 in company with 2-year-old gelding Paynt Your Wagon, who Diodoro claimed for $40,000 out of an off-the-board effort in his August 15 debut at the Spa.
“They were rolling right along,” Diodoro said. “We gave her something to run at and made sure she was in front at the wire. I thought she worked really well. She galloped out strong.”
Dream Lith, by Medaglia d’Oro, is pointed to the Grade 1, $300,000 Spinaway on September 5 at the Spa.
Flying P Stable’s Lone Rock breezed a half-mile in 50.85 Saturday on the Oklahoma dirt training track.
The 6-year-old Majestic Warrior gelding has won seven of his last eight starts, including wins in the Grade 2 Brooklyn presented by Northwell Health in June at Belmont and the Birdstone last out on August 5 at the Spa.
Lone Rock is pointed to the 1 5/8-mile $300,000 Grand Prix American Jockey Club Invitational on September 18 at Belmont.
“Lone Rock is doing great. He’ll ship down to Belmont next week and be ready for the 18th. He breezed great,” Diodoro said.
Diodoro boasts a record of 30-5-6-6 at the Spa summer meet heading into Sunday’s card and will look to close strong with a number of stakes runners, including Dreamer’s Disease who is entered in today’s Better Talk Now.
“We’d like to pick off another win or two for sure, but it has been a good meet,” Diodoro said.
Photo: Keepmeinmind (2nd from right in blue cap with green silks) has a 4th place finish in the Travers. (Amira Chichakly)