Before we proceed to discuss yet another milestone achieved by one of Alberta’s favorite sons in the global Thoroughbred training ranks, we wish to apologize to our readers who may be of the view that all these praises bestowed upon Robertino Diodoro are becoming somewhat boring and irrelevant to the local scene since he previously departed for greater glory. Notwithstanding, we need to acknowledge our reader base since it looks like last week’s post on another training legend Dale “Mr. Happy” Saunders was viewed over 800 times. We have to think that the hits are legitimate since common sense says that in all probability the story was not personally viewed by Dale 800 times. He generally shies away from publicity (good or bad) and prefers flying under the radar. Odds are 3/5 that he does not even realize there was something written about his recent exploits.
Back to the subject at hand, on July 16 Diodoro recorded his 1,500th trip to the Winner’s Circle. This one had a slight twist since it was recorded with a $2,500 claimer Mind The Master at Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg. Albeit the horse did win by the length of the stretch and was claimed, however the steed’s quality would appear to be a far cry from those who posted Graded Stakes victories in the Canadian Derby (Broadway Empire and Edison), the Oklahoma Derby (Broadway Empire) and those winning multiple stakes wins at Oaklawn, Santa Anita, Canterbury, Prairie Meadows, and Turf Paradise.
This achievement came on his 7,937th career start and marked the 135th win of the year. There are only three (3) trainers in North America who have recorded more wins in 2016 – Karl Broberg (not a household name), Steve Asmussen and Todd Pletcher. Robertino’s runners have amassed lifetime earnings of a whopping $20,844,000 of which around 50% has been earned since 2010. What Diodoro has going for him is the knack of attracting new owners and horses where the game is played at the top level. Obviously wins help too.
Speaking of the Canadian Derby, you can always count on Diodoro to be a player with a 3 year old that can get all the money as witnessed by the fact he has won this race 2 of the last 3 runnings. Inside Straight a recent private purchase for Lethbridge’s Randy Howg will be the current charge to start down the Derby trail. The route will go through Manitoba as was the case in 2014 when Assistant Rob Atras prepped Edison to get all the money in Edmonton. The latest journey commenced in earnest last Saturday when Inside Straight started from the rail in the Harry Jeffrey Stakes at Assiniboia. Not to cut corners or spare any expense, the services of leading Alberta rider Rico Walcott were summoned. At 3/5 the horse finished a disappointing third but beaten only a length. Never one to criticize a ride or question Rico’s ability, unusual tactics were used in this one for reasons only the connections would know. Rather than the confirmed front runner gunning straight for the engine, he sat near the back of the pack and could not catch the winner off a pedestrian 49.2 half mile. Plan A is still intact, with the next expected prep race to be the Manitoba Derby held on August 1. Maybe to hedge his bet, Diodoro has also acquired privately the lightly raced 3 year old – Solve. Upon a review of his past performances one is not sure how you can see the “cat” in this picture, nevertheless we only report here, we don’t train em and we not pay for em! The 2016 Canadian Derby is only 40 days away so from now on we will give equal coverage to the local Derby prospects.
Statistics for the 2016 Northlands Thoroughbred Meet
Same old story – wagering to date is not as robust as last year. For the first twenty-eight (28) days of the meet, wagering on the live product totaled $7,231,940 compared to $7,732,489 for the same period last year which represents around a $500,000 (6.5%) decrease. YTD wagering on-track has decreased $204k. and off track is $296k. less than last year. To put these results in prospective, net wagering commissions earned by the HBPA are off only about $20,000 – not the end of the world but certainly not meeting expectations.
Overnite payments including the participation fees paid to starters finishing worse than 5th in any race carded total $1,936,746 for the period ending July 2. The daily average of $77,470 is well within budget. Stake purses paid to date total $298,000. Starters per race during this period was 6.89 compared to 7.18 in 2015.
Wintering incentive bonuses paid to Owners of qualifying lower claiming horses returning to race at Northlands in 2016 have totaled $84,800. 121 horses have made one start with 81 of these making their third start of the meet so far. Based on these results, The HBPA believes this program has added value and again thanks our members for buying into the Program.
There must be many good handicappers out there playing the High 5 exotic wager on the last race of each card. It was déjà vu all over again with no single winner on Saturday thus the carryover jackpot is now $107,944. Maybe the ten (10) horse field entered in the 9th race on Wednesday will finally be the impetus for the jackpot to go. If not, there will be more in the pool for Friday.