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FIGHT TO GLORY
City Of Phoenix Stakes
Turf Paradise Phoenix, Arizona
November 11, 2017
6 Furlongs 1:09.70
Charles Garvey, Owner
Robertino Diodoro, Trainer
Andrew Ramgeet, Jockey
B C Z Middleton (2nd)
$3.80 $2.40 $2.10
Order of Finish - 7, 3, 4, 6
Please Give Photo Credit To: Coady Photography
Both Fight to Glory and Kaabraaj made every pole winning ones in capturing their respective races, the $30,000 City of Phoenix and $30,000 Luke Kruytbosch stakes, Saturday at Turf Paradise.
The City of Phoenix
Ridden confidently by Andrew Ramgeet, 4-5 favorite Fight to Glory ($3.80) sped to the lead she never relinquished as BCZ Middleton stayed within striking distance but came up a length short of the winner, the same position she finished in this race last year. Listo finished third in the field of seven fillies and mares.
Owned by Charles Garvey of Alberta, Canada and conditioned by leading trainer Robertino Diodoro, the 3-year-old Fight to Glory, redeeming herself after finishing third to BCZ Middleton in the Princess of Palms Stakes, raced the 6-furlongs in 1:09.70 for her fourth victory in nine starts. Fight to Glory now has earnings of $71,462.
The Luke Kruytbosch
Meanwhile, Kaabraaj ($9.80) followed the same catch-me-if-you-can strategy he employed in winning the Luke Kruytbosch last year. Handling several challengers from the get-go, Scott Stevens kept Kaabraaj focused on the prize and pulled away in the final sixteenth of a mile for a 2 ¼ length victory over Keller’s Gold with Leadem in Ken third in the field of nine colts and geldings. The favored Shrewd Move tired to finish fifth.
Owned by Warlock Stables and Horseplayers Racing Club and trained by Jeff Metz (also trainer of BCZ Middleton), Kaabraaj raced the 6-furlongs in 1:09.25 for his seventh win in 26 efforts. With the victory, the 5-year-old Kaabraaj raised his career earnings to $160,421.
Sprinters will be in the spotlight in the $30,000 City of Phoenix and $30,000 Luke Kruytbosch stakes Saturday at Turf Paradise Race Course.
The City of Phoenix, for fillies and mares, drew seven entrants while the Kruytbosch, for colts and geldings, attracted a field of nine. Both races are for 3-year-olds and up and each will be run at 6 furlongs. Post time for the first of eight races is 12:55 pm.
The City of Phoenix
BCZ Middleton who won the Oct. 21 Princess of Palms, will seek to better last year’s runner-up finish in this race. Trained by Jeff Metz, the 4-year-old daughter of Nobiz Like Shobiz. has won three of four races locally and boasts an impressive 12 of 14 in the money finishes. BCZ Middleton will be seeking her third consecutive stakes win.
Fight to Glory, third in the Princess of Palms, is sure to improve off that race, her first start back following a three month layoff. The 3-year-old daughter of American Lion has won two of three starts this year.
Three of the seven entrants – Erratic Storm, Sierrita and Protective Shield – are coming off extended layoffs.
The Luke Kruytbosch
Named after the Turf Paradise and Churchill Downs’ announcer, the Luke Kruytbosch lured last year’s winner, Kaabraaj, into a mix of proven locals with established records and newcomers making their first starts at the Phoenix oval.
Of the veterans: Storm Power, third in the race last year, has three wins locally; Shrewd Move, winner of opening day’s Bienvenidos, is a six-time winner.
The first timers consist of Blue Law, a mid-level claiming competitor; the 3-year-old Candy for Three, winner of three of eight races at Emerald Downs and Keller’s Gold, also a 3-year-old, winner of six of 14 efforts, primarily at Emerald and Portland Meadows.
Put Down That Turkey Leg. Put Off Your Holiday Shopping. Spend The Holiday Weekend At Turf Paradise
Dollar Day Friday. Free Sweatshirts On Saturday. Sunday Fiesta Day
A cold beer, a warm breeze, and red hot horseracing. It sure sounds better than braving the holiday shopping crowds or staying at home arguing about politics with your brother-in-law.
Turf Paradise continues its tradition as the place for fans and families to enjoy Thanksgiving weekend. It’s the place where the horses go fast and the dollar goes far. Turf has three days of exciting and inexpensive family fun. It’s a great place to take the kids and visiting family members, or go alone if you need a little ‘me’ time.
$2 Day Friday November 24th
It’s the day after Thanksgiving. Who says you have to spend the day shopping? Just buy a bunch of gift cards and spend the rest of the day at Turf Paradise. Gates open at 11am. There’s a full card of live local horseracing where you can watch, wager and win. And it’s $2 Day. Grandstand admission is $2 Friday, and so are hotdogs, popcorn, soda, and ice cream. Kids 16 and under get in free. General parking is free. There’s also $2 draft beer $4 Vodka drinks and a live DJ.
Family Fun Day November 25th
There’s no need to spend the Saturday after Thanksgiving cooped up in your home chewing on a turkey leg. Get off the couch and get to the track for a day of family fun. Grandstand admission is $3. Kids 16 and under get in free and the first 4,000 paid admissions get a free Turf Paradise sweatshirt. There’s also a full card of live horse racing featuring The Queen of the Green Stakes and the Walter Cluer Memorial Stakes. There’s also live music and a kids fun park with bounce house inflatables. Plus $3 aluminum bottle beer.
And if you still feeling guilty about blowing off holiday shopping, Turf Paradise has two gift shops where you can find a large assortment of gifts for horseracing fans or anyone who loves horses.
Sunday Fiesta Day November 26th
Make the most of the last day of the holiday. Ditch the leftovers. Take the family to Turf Paradise for Fiesta Sunday where you can enjoy Mexican food specials and music. Grandstand admission is just $3 and kids 16 and under get in free. There will be a full card of live horse racing, including some of the best quarter horse racing in the southwest.
Turf Paradise General Manager Vince Francia said, “Turf Paradise is the ultimate local getaway for fans and families on Thanksgiving weekend. It’s affordable family fun where the racing is red hot and the horses are cool.”
Who: Turf Paradise
What: Thanksgiving Weekend Party
When: November 24, 25, 26
Where: Turf Paradise 1501 West Bell Road
How Much: Grandstand admission $2 Friday. $3 Saturday and Sunday
The season also includes:
Special Fiesta Sundays throughout the season featuring Mexican food and music (Last Sundays of the month except for December)
62nd Anniversary Party featuring the $75,000 Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile January 13th
Super Saturday February 10th
Wiener Dog Races March 3rd
Camel, Ostrich and Zebra Races March 17th
Kentucky Derby Party May 5th
Turf Paradise opened its doors in 1956 and has operated at the same location (19th Avenue and Bell) ever since making it Arizona’s first sports franchise.
By Brooke Coltelli
November 3, 2017 at 3:32 pm
PHOENIX – Horse training is in the blood that runs through Robert Diodoro’s veins. He describes it as a “disease” and cannot recall a time when horses weren’t a part of his life.
Diodoro’s grandfather was a horse trainer and spent a great portion of his life at the racetrack. As a young boy, Diodoro remembers running around the barn area in hopes of being allowed to ride a stable pony horse.
Today, with over 20 years of experience in training horses to compete at the most elite level, Diodoro looks to become the all-time winningest trainer at the Turf Paradise racetrack. His successes include having an entrant just four years ago in the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile, which runs today as part of the two-day racing event in Del Mar, California.
Turf Paradise opened its 62nd season on Oct. 14. Diodoro entered the season with 418 career victories and is on a pace to catch Richard Hazelton, who has 462.
“One person brought it to my attention before the meet started,” Diodoro said. “That’s exciting, especially since Phoenix is home for me now.”
Diodoro will also be seeking his fifth consecutive trainer’s title.
Now training in Arizona, Iowa, Minnesota, California and Arkansas, Diodoro was ranked fourth by wins and 20th by earnings in 2016. That amount of success is not easily attained.
Training horses demands an extreme amount of dedication and time to care for the animals.
“There’s no such thing as weekends off,” Diodoro said.
Similar to coaching, to maintain a level of excellence, Diodoro’s lifestyle is tailored around his “athletes.”
“Seven days a week, the alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m.,” Diodoro said. “We go in spurts because we train the horses in the morning so we’re done at 10 or 11 a.m. The guys go home to have lunch and they’re back from 3 to 5 p.m. Then sometimes we have night race. It’s a different lifestyle.”
Horse training encompasses multiple dimensions. Diodoro, however, believes three different aspects are essential for success: good clients, good horses and good help.
Diodoro emphasizes the importance of good help, especially with a stable as large as his with over 60 horses.
“If you don’t have those three it’s a pretty tough game,” Diodoro said. “It’s a tough game at the best of times.”
Diodoro’s passion is driven by his inherent love for horses. He acknowledges to be successful “competitiveness” must be within you, but a love for horses is where it all begins.
Growing up in Canada, Diodoro was a hockey player familiar with the excitement that comes from winning. Competing, and ultimately winning, is an unparalleled reward of training, he said.
“I always say it doesn’t matter if it’s a $3,000 race at Turf Paradise or a $500,000 race at Arkansas or wherever we race,” Diodoro said. “I always say a guy can be in the worst mood and be having the worst day ever, you come into the race, win a race and ‘poof,’ it just picks it back up.”
The highlight of Diodoro’s training career came in April at Oaklawn Park Race Track in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Inside Straight, a 4-year-old New York-bred horse, pulled away in the deep stretch of the Oaklawn Handicap to upset the heavy favorite, Midnight Storm.
This victory was significant, not only because it was the biggest victory in Diodoro’s career, resulting in $750,000 of earnings, but also because the owner of the horse is one of his close friends.
“Randy Howg, has been a friend and a client from day one,” Diodoro said. “So 23 years, I’ve trained for him.”
After 23 years as a horse trainer, Diodoro is unable to fathom how many horses he has trained. That number, whatever it may be, is certainly a large one. Horses are constantly entering and leaving Diodoro’s stable. It can be difficult to not get attached, especially to a successful horse.
“You always like a winner,” Diodoro said. “One of our best horses right now is Chief Know It All. We claimed him, we ran him twice and he won two derbies for us in two starts. Of course, now he’s one of our favorites and we’re attached to him. He wins the two biggest races we’ve won in a while and he’s just like a little pet on top of it, so it’s hard not to get attached.”
Over the last four years at Turf Paradise, Diodoro and his horses have averaged 104 wins per meet. This year Diodoro looks forward to competing with his stable, which boasts 62 horses set to compete in the various races.