HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Woodslane Farm’s homebred Sadler’s Joy used his signature blistering late charge to return to the winner’s circle in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Mac Diarmida Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Breaking slowly along the rail as the 2/1 favorite under Julien Leparoux, Sadler’s Joy settled at the rear while the field ran down the back stretch for the first time. Meanwhile, One Go All Go quickly took command and ran loose on the lead and set splits of :24.06, :48.48, 1:13.41, and 1:36.96 through the opening mile. Sadler’s Joy made a wide neared the top of the stretch and was set down for the final run past the judges under full power. One Go All Go appeared to have just enough left in the tank to hold off the Sadler’s Joy, but the multiple graded stakes winner stole the lead in the shadow of the wire to win by 3/4 of a length in a final time of 2:12.93 for the 11-furlong turf marathon.
“The plan was to break a little bit better, but he just broke slow, so I just kind of bided my time with him and saved ground around the first two turns,” Leparoux said. “He had his usual kick that he does in the end, so he ran a big race today. I was patient with him. I had so much horse at the end, I just wanted to make him finish, and he did great.”
A three-way photo finish for third was ultimately awarded to Nessy by a neck over Oscar Nominated, with Markitoff a head further behind in fifth. Some in Tieme took sixth by a neck over Muqtaser, with Gold Shield, Patterson Cross, Run Time, Big Bend, and Bernay completing the order of finish.
Sadler’s Joy improved his record to 15-6-1-3 with career earnings of $1,343,288. The 5-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy was previously a close fourth in each of his past two starts after having won the Grade 1 Sword Dancer last August for trainer Tom Albertrani.
“It was kind of the same old running style with him,” Albertrani said. “He makes you sweat it out for two minutes. He doesn’t really pick up his feet from the time they leave the gate. He finally picks up the pieces late. He has such a strong kick. He really turns the motor on.”
Sadler’s Joy returned $5.80 to win, $3.60 to place, and $3 to show. One Go All Go brought back $11 to place and $7.60 to show, while Nessy paid $6.60 to show.