Wednesday, 02 October 2013 14:53

One on One With Robertino Diodoro

Written by Jeff Robillard
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Broadway Empire in the finish stretch of the 2013 Canadian Derby at Northlands Park Broadway Empire in the finish stretch of the 2013 Canadian Derby at Northlands Park Coady Photo/Ryan Haynes

Today we catch up with trainer Robertino Diodoro after Broadway Empire’s big win with Rico Walcott of the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby.

So Robertino, where are you now?

We just got back into Phoenix. Everything is really good.   

Take us back to the Oklahoma Derby – why did you choose Remington Park?

That was an easy logical decision for us. The number one reason was we didn’t want Broadway Empire to come back too quick. The goal we set after the Canadian Derby was to be five weeks out. The second reason was the easy access to this race. It was a 13 hour drive, the roads were very good and safe.

Once the draw was done did you have any concerns going against Departing?

To be strictly honest with you, I never even looked at the form until 10 pm the night before the race. I was concentrating my efforts on Broadway Empire the entire time, I wasn’t worried about any other horse. However it’s really funny – once I put the form down I said to myself we have to be on the front. I don’t give Rico any instructions before any race, Rico is a professional and  knows what he is doing.  So I only had one small item I mentioned to him in the paddock – and that was - don’t be surprised if you are on the front.  Sure enough the gate broke and there we were.

Is it fair to say Broadway Empire can race from anywhere?

Absolutely, he has proven that to date. He can sprint and he can handle any distance in my mind. He raced mid pack in the Canadian Derby and from the front in Oklahoma.  Our entire barn believes in this horse and so do the Alberta Racing fans.

How did Broadway Empire come out of the race?

I only have one word for you – unbelievable.  We just shipped 14 hours with him, and he is simply amazing and unbelievable. He is eating well, and looks great. You know 72 hours before this past weekend’s race he looked better than he has ever looked. I think in my mind one point really sticks out – and that is to date considering the time of the year, he really hasn’t been used, he is in great shape. Going into his last race I finally felt for the first time this season he was 100%.

How Was Rico after the race?

Anyone who knows Rico knows he can be quite reserved, but not this time. I’ve never seen Rico so excited. He kept telling me just how strong Broadway Empire was the entire race and after the race Rico made it clear how hard it was to get him to pull up. I can’t say enough about Rico, Kent his exercise Rider, the owners and our entire team. Everyone is very happy, everyone has worked so hard, and our owners have paid their dues – I’m so happy for everyone including our Alberta Race fans.

Did you see any bridge jumpers?

That’s funny – no I didn’t. I did look when I left the track. Wasn’t that crazy?

As of October 2nd, 2013 (noon) what are your plans for Broadway Empire?

As of this morning and last night’s ship we have contacted the race office at Santa Anita to ask about the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile on November 1st.  We have 55 horses stabled at Phoenix and 20 at Santa Anita. The thought right now is to ship Broadway Empire and Kent on October 15th, we will work him once in Phoenix. At the end of the day the horse is a pretty plain character but he can get quirky at times that is why it is important to have Rico and Kent along with him. 

Has it really sunk in yet?

This has all been such an incredible ride and been so exciting. I don’t know how to begin to answer that question. You know literally minutes after we crossed the wire in first I was getting texts and calls from Alberta – from Uplinks, Bully’s, Schanks – it was crazy.

The win was special to everyone and I really need to thank everyone in Alberta. So much support – thank you.  The noise in the background was overwhelming, people really and screaming in victory. Broadway Empire has become a fan favorite.

Think about it for a second, a horse that lived in the backstretch for over three months at Northlands Park is now pointed to the Breeders Cup. How cool is that? We still have some work ahead of us, so for now we will stay focused at the task at hand and follow our plans and I say thank you to everyone.   

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