Michael Dubb, Sheep Pond Partners and Bethlehem Stables’ Wake Forest was given a heady ride by veteran reinsman Javier Castellano in Saturday’s G2 Mac Diarmida Stakes, just getting up by a head on the wire in a blanket finish. The 7-year-old son of Sir Percy covered 1 3/8 miles on Gulfstream’s firm turf in 2:13.54 to give trainer Chad Brown his third win on the card.
Reporting Star jumped sharply out of the starting gate to quickly post a two-length lead over Smooth Daddy entering the homestretch for the first time. Though they set a mild first quarter fraction of 24.18 seconds, Reporting Star picked up the pace a bit rankly moving toward the wire for the first time, marking the half in :47.88. Smooth Daddy had trouble settling behind Reporting Star as he moved in and out off the rail a bit, crowding Charming Kitten. Flatlined and Bigger Picture moved in unison from fourth position, behind whom Wake Forest saved ground along the rail.
Entering the backstretch, Smooth Daddy began to pick up the pace toward Reporting Star, and the two were only a half-length apart after three-quarters in 1:13.70. Charming Kitten, meanwhile, angled outside, a move which would cause Wake Forest to be five-wide as he began his rally in the far turn.
At the head of the lane, Reporting Star had a 3/4-length lead again, but Wake Forest was closing fast. Castellano timed his ride perfectly, hitting the wire a head in front of the late-running Patterson Cross and about a neck in front of Reporting Star. Bigger Picture hung around to finish fourth, and Mr Maybe was up for fourth.
Bred in Germany by Stiftung Gestut Fahrhof, Wake Forest was purchased at the 2015 Arqana sale for $ 156,996, prompting his move to the United States. He scored his first G1 win in May of 2016, and has continued to be consistent since then. The Mac Diarmida was his 2017 debut, and brings his career record to eight wins from 19 starts, with earnings of about $ 900,000.
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