EASY DOES IT FOR DILIGENT
Trained by Steven Todd and ridden by Robert Halledeen, Diligent made light work of rivals in the three-year-old and upwards Optional Claiming ($250,000-$200,000) spread going 5 ½ furlongs (1,100m).
Diligent sat in third position at the off and watched as Breaking Storm (Reyan Lewis) and Storm Valley (Shane Richardson) matched strides up front, running the half-mile (800m) turn. Diligent continued to play the waiting game, approaching the distance, until hitting the front at the furlong and a half (300m) pole.
Once he surged to the front of the field, turned on the pressure in deep stretch, coming away to win by 9 ¼ lengths. Blu Attitude (Ricardo Duhaney) finished second, and Smarty Tradition (Paul Francis) was third in a final time of 1:10.1.
STEDMAN CURTIS OFF THE MARK IN 2022
Trainer Stedman Curtis saddled his first winner for the season after his charge Freedom for Eds won a five-year-old and upwards Claiming ($180,000-$150,000) race at over 3 furlongs (600m).
Ridden by Natalie Berger, Freedom for Eds disputed the early lead with Timetosaygoodbye (Samantha Fletcher), Awesome Cat (Andre Powell), and Fourthousand (Jerome Innis). Coming across the dummy rails, Freedoms for Eds emerged as the lone leader and looked all over the winner with a furlong to go.
Although he began to shorten inside the final half-furlong (100m), Freedom for Eds was able to hold on by a head from the fast-finishing Seadon (Shane Richardson). Fourthousand finished third. The final was recorded at 37.0.
QUEEN DEFTINY CRASHES THE PARTY AT 54-1
Neglected at long odds of 54-1, five-year-old chestnut mare Queen Deftiny upset not only rivals but also most of the betting public in a native-bred five-year-old and upwards (non-winners of three) event over 4 v1/2 furlongs (900m).
With jockey Oshane Nugent riding for trainer Renex Burrell, Queen Deftiny settled just off the early pacesetters, Awesome Boy (Jawani Forbes), Papito (Anthony Thomas), and Born Diplomat (Jordan Barrett). Born Diplomat took full control of the race crossing the dummy rails but then gave up his gallop inside the final furlong (200m), allowing Queen of Deftiny and Papito to battle out the finish with the former getting home by three parts of a length in a time of 57.1. Duke of Springs (Phillip Parchment) finished in third place.
SOUL AMIA GOES ONE BETTER
Soul Amia, after finishing a head second to Wearyourhonour over the straight on November 20, returned to defeat opponents in a native-bred four-year-old and upwards Non-Restricted Maiden Condition race travelling 5 furlongs round.
The Keffin Murray trainee settled behind Absolute Blue (Samantha Fletcher ) at the off and followed the leader into the straight before taking over with a furlong (200m) to run. Ramon Nepare steered the four-year-old bay filly to an easy four-length victory.
Flame Carrier (Javaniel Patterson) came through on the inside rails for second place, with Absolute Blue finishing third. The final time for the race was 1:04.0.
FIVE HORSES CLAIMED
In the first race, Ian Alexander claimed winner Diligent for owner Errol Dixon from Steven Todd, Winchester McIntosh claimed Smarty Tradition for owner Devon Brown from Ryan Darby, Joseph Thomas claimed Storm Valley for himself from Delroy Wisdom, and Ryan Williams claimed Breaking Storm for owner Ian Roberts from Donovan Plummer. All horses from the opening event were claimed for $250,000 each.
Nicholas Smith claimed Seadon for owner Sylvester Suberan for $180,000 from Tensang Chung from the second race.