Flying Elvis Stable's Diplomat, trained by Kate Dalton and ridden by her husband Bernie, settled ninth in the 11 horse field and moved powerfully forward through the stretch to win the G1, $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 24.
"That was special," said Kate Dalton, who started training Diplomat in October of 2015.
Diplomat's win in the Turf Writers along with his third place finish in the A.P. Smithwick on July 27 makes him a lukewarm early favorite for the Eclipse Award as Swansea Mile, who won the Smithwick, finished fifth in the Turf Writers and Scorpiance, who won the G! at Iroquois hasn't run since.
"We'll go to Belmont for the Lonesome Glory," said Dalton. "He had a nice light weight for the Smithwick and Turf Writers, which was good because he's not an overly big horse. He'll be weighted down a bit now, so we'll see how he carries weight."
"WE PROBABLY won't go to Far Hills," said Dalton, referring to another meet that includes a G1 race. "He doesn't like soft ground. He likes flatter ground like there is at a race track."
"I got him to train two years ago," Dalton said. "Jimmy Day bought him from Ireland. He was claimed by my owner, Charlie Baker. They ran him in the Lonesome Glory (with Day as the trainer). That didn't go so well. (Diplomat finished seventh)."
"The owners wanted him to go more on the steeplechase circuit, so I got asked to train him," said Dalton. "I think it was only because they wanted Bernie to ride him."
"I've been training since 2005, and I've won some lesser filly and mare stakes," said Dalton. "Diplomat won the first race that I ran him in, the G3 Zeke Ferguson, and that's been my biggest win until this."
"Diplomat is a star," said Dalton. "He's an absolute professional horse. He pretty much trains himself. Whatever you ask him to do, he does."
Diplomat won the Turf Writers by 3 lengths over Robert A. Kinsley's Modem, trained by Elizabeth Voss and ridden by Jack Doyle with Buttonwood Farm's All the Way Jose, trained by Jonathan Sheppard and ridden by Darren Nagle, another 1 3/4 lengths back in third.
By Kitten's Joy out of Waki Affair, by Miswaki, Diplomat was foaled in Kentucky in 2009 but started his racing carrer in Ireland as a 2-year-old.
After Day boughthim, he started his racing career in this country with a win in the Carolina Cup Hurdle Stakes in Camden on March 28, 2015.
Since then, he has alternated between allowance and stakes races, winning two allowance races.