Diamond Oops is up to win the Hollywood Lakes, a prep for the upcoming Smile Sprint
Multiple graded-stakes Diamond Oops prepped for a scheduled start in the $200,000 Smile Sprint (G3) with a thoroughly professional triumph in the $60,000 Hollywood Lakes at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.
The Hollywood Lakes, a six-furlong overnight handicap for 3-year-olds and up, co-headlined Saturday’s 12-race program with the $75,000 Game Face, a 6 ½-furlong sprint for 3-year-old fillies.
The Smile Sprint will be co-featured on the July 3 Summit of Speed card at Gulfstream with the $350,000 Princess Rooney (G2), a seven-furlong Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ sprint for fillies and mares.
Diamond Oops, who captured the 2019 running of the Smile Sprint, was rated a few lengths off the pace set by Willy Boi, who put up fractions of 22.71 and 45.28 (seconds) for the first half mile before being joined by Ournationonparade on the turn into the homestretch. Ournationonparade took the lead at the top of the stretch, only to meet challenges on the inside by Miles Ahead, the even-money favorite ridden by Edgard Zayas, and on the outside by Diamond Oops, the 2-1 second choice ridden by Luca Panici.
Miles Ahead made a strong rail bid in an effort to win his stakes debut but was unable to hold off Diamond Oops, a multiple graded-stakes winner on turf and dirt who has earned more than $1.1 million. The Patrick Biancone-trained 6-year-old gelding ran six furlongs in 1:09.31 to win by a head while carrying highweight of 124 pounds, five more than Miles Ahead.
“He just does his job. He’s so versatile, he can do anything, but I do feel like six furlongs on dirt is his niche. That’s truly where he belongs,” said assistant trainer Andie Biancone. “We’re really going to focus on that and try to get him to the Breeders’ Cup [Sprint]. We have the wonderful Smile coming up, so hopefully that will be his next win. He loves Gulfstream.”
Diamond Oops, who won his fifth stakes at Gulfstream Saturday, was making his second start of the year Saturday after finishing a late rallying fourth in the April 20 Churchill Downs’ Turf Sprint (G2), a race he won last year. The son of Lookin At Lucky provided Panici with his first stakes success since recently returning to action following a three-month recovery and rehabilitation of a back injury sustained in a February accident.
“It feels great,” he said. “This is a good horse, a class horse.”
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