Diamond Tiara wins for the 13th time; leads North America in races won this year
In the immortal words of Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra it’s deja vu all over again here at the Mighty M. Just like last season when a pacing mare topped the North American leaderboard again this year another pacing mare leads all other Standardbreds in races won thus far this year.
The current queen, Diamond Tiara, a 7 year old daughter of McArdle, reeled-off her 13th seasonal victory and 9th consecutive here on Monday afternoon, June 2nd. Last year the industry was watching Tracys Song who also had a consecutive win streak and her seasonal triumphs also led North America at this comparable time.
Jimmy Taggart, Jr. was once again in the sulky for trainer Mike Watson and he drove the mare perfectly, scooting to the lead (from post five) in a :28 first quarter and then coasting through a middle half before pouring on a :28.3 final quarter en route to a seasonal best of 1:56.4.
“She was real good today,” a smiling Taggart said when he reached the winners circle. “She never ceases to amaze me. I ask for more and she gives it to me.”
It was no easy journey for Diamond Tiara this week. Her quick speed away from the gate has been the reason she gets to the lead although over the past two weeks the other drivers have roughed her up a bit before yielding command.
But once on top Diamond Tiara is the queen of the throne and she awaits a signal from her driver before she steps it up. And when Taggart asks the mare digs in and fights like the queen that she is.
And today her competition was arguably the toughest yet in the $7500 claiming allowance paces she’s been racing in. One, Shortest Distance, another Mighty M mare who is currently runner-up in wins to Diamond Tiara, was the main competition, considered so much so that the public even made her the betting favorite at post time relegating Diamond to second choice.
Perhaps that Shortest Distance (Bruce Aldrich, Jr.) had to leave from the seven- hole was a reason why she fell short and finished sixth. Or maybe the winner was just to gritty to allow the others, even those that looked her in the eyes from the half on, to get by her today.
Second place went to the Zeke Parker-driven Givemybest Hanover who despite shadowing Diamond Tiara from the get-go couldn’t make up any ground in the deep stretch although one would have figured she got the perfect pocket trip which attests to the grit of the winner. Extreme Terror, driven by Kyle DiBenedetto, moved first up at the half and raced side-by-side with Diamond Tiara until the latter pulled away on the final turn and then braced for Givemybest Hanover’s best shot in the lane.
“She’s just got a lot of class” was Taggart’s retort to the question of why is she so good now. “She’s so handy and a real pleasure to sit behind.”
Now with 13 victories this year Diamond Tiara has opened a two-win lead over runners –up Shortest Distance and Camco Kyle, each with 11.
When asked what trainer Mike Watson is like to drive for Taggart cocked his head and smiled a sheepish grin and said,” I never met him.”
Owned by Philip Schultz Diamond Tiara paid $6.20 for win.