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TESIO WINNER DIAMOND KING POINTING TO G1 PREAKNESS STAKES

BALTIMORE – Though the connections have yet to formally make a decision, co-owner Chuck Zacney said Federico Tesio winner Diamond King is expected to return to Maryland for the 143rd Preakness Stakes (G1) May 19 at legendary Pimlico Race Course.

Cash is King, D.J. Stable and LC Racing’s Diamond King earned automatic entry into the $1.5 million Preakness, the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, courtesy of his three-quarter-length triumph in the 1 1/8-mile Tesio April 21 at Laurel Park. It was his second stakes win following the 2017 Heft at Laurel and fourth win from six career starts.

Zacney is the managing partner of Cash is King, who won the 2005 Preakness and Belmont Stakes (G1) with Kentucky Derby (G1) runner-up Afleet Alex, the partnership’s first horse. John Servis, winner of the 2004 Derby and Preakness with Smarty Jones, trains Diamond King.

“The Preakness is the next step. That’s actually John’s call and I guess the horse tells him that he’s raring to go,” Zacney said. “I’m hearing nothing but positives since the race, and I pretty much talk to John on a daily basis. Everybody’s looking forward to the third Saturday in May.”

Diamond King returned to Servis’ string at Parx Racing following the Tesio and the trainer said his colt has shown nothing but positive signs since the race.

“He came out of it super, very good. He bounced back pretty quick and the next day he was pretty full of himself. It didn’t take too much out of him, I don’t think. He ran big. We were all certainly very pleased,” Servis said. “I think he’s going to get a lot better.”

Servis took over the training of Diamond King prior to his 3-year-old debut in the seven-furlong Swale (G3) Feb. 3 at Gulfstream Park, where he ran third. A fever prevented Diamond King from running in the Private Terms Stakes March 17 at Laurel, and he was rerouted to the Tesio.

V. I. P. Code upset Frank Whiteley Jr. and Miracle Wood winner Still Having Fun in the Private Terms, and they returned to run seventh and sixth, respectively, in the Tesio. Prior to the Private Terms, Servis said the Preakness was in the plans for Diamond King.

“I talked to [the owners] and we thought that we were going to make our first big goal of the year the Preakness. We think he’s that good,” he said. “So we thought why not do that now, why not take him to Laurel and get a race or two under his belt before the Preakness and see how it goes.”

Diamond King was purchased for $235,000 out of Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale last May, and it wasn’t long before Zacney first labeled him his Preakness horse. Diamond King made his first four starts for trainer Butch Reid.

“Butch and I were the ones that picked out Diamond King. Butch was at the breeze sale and really liked him, and I had him on my short list. I went down and bid and we did get him,” Zacney said. “I never thought of him as a Derby horse. I always called him a Preakness horse. I think he has the style to run in the Preakness and be successful. Here we are a couple weeks out, fingers crossed, that’s what we’re aiming for.”

On the day before the Preakness, Zacney said Barbara Fritchie (G2) winner Ms Locust Point will represent Cash is King and Jim Reichenberg in the $100,000 Skipat Stakes for fillies and mares 3 and up going six furlongs.

Ms Locust Point won the 2016 Gin Talking, 2017 Willa On the Move and 2018 What A Summer Stakes at Laurel prior to her triumph in the Barbara Fritchie Feb. 17. Last time out, she ran a troubled eighth in the seven-furlong Madison (G1) April 7 at Keeneland.

“It was a tough spot and she kind of got off a step slow but she’s doing fine. She’ll be tough in the next race. We’re looking forward to it. It could be a real fun weekend,” Zacney said. “She’s been successful in Maryland; very successful, actually. Especially with us taking Diamond King there, it just made all the sense in the world.”

About Pimlico Race Course

Legendary Pimlico Race Course, home of the Preakness® Stakes, the Middle Jewel in horse racing’s famed Triple Crown, first opened its doors on October 25, 1870, and is the second oldest racetrack in the United States. Pimlico has played host to racing icons and Baltimoreans have seen the likes of legendary horses such as Man o’ War, Seabiscuit, Secretariat, Affirmed, American Pharoah and Cigar thunder down the stretch in thrilling and memorable competition. For more information on Pimlico, visit www.pimlico.com.

The Stronach Group is North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, home of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida and is one of North America’s top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world’s largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is also a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry. For more information contact David Joseph at david.joseph@marylandracing.com or call 954.658.7156.