Scott Stevens to ride Broadway Empire in Met Mile at Belmont

              

 Broadway Empire - 04-12-14 - R06 - TUP - Finish600x300         

 

       It’s not the Belmont Stakes but it’s part of the same card and it does have a nice ring to it.           

  How does $1. 25 million sound?  

Canterbury Park Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens will ride Broadway Empire, trained by Canterbury conditioner Robertino Diodoro, in the Grade I Metropolitan Handicap known as the Met Mile, for the richest purse in his career on a day when the Triple Crown will be at stake, on a stakes-loaded card worth $8 million.           

            Stevens is elated at the opportunity and handicaps it this way: “The Empire State building is in New York and so is Broadway. Everything matches up.” 

            Stevens was in a jocular mood for good reason. He  worked the horse in Phoenix and was on him when he won in allowance company there. His brother Gary got the mount, however, when Broadway Empire ran at Churchill Downs in Grade II company on the Kentucky Derby card earlier this month. But Scott gets the call for the horse’s second Classic card race. 

            Sunday night’s airing on HRTV on Scott might have had something to do with the owners’ change of hearts. In any event, Scott is delighted and Gary is, too. “He really is. We talked for 45 minutes,” Scott said.                       

            “Gary seems genuinely happy about Scott getting the mount. And I know those two are really close as brothers,” said Diodoro. The HRTV piece couldn’t have said it better.           Watch the HRTV story here.

 

            Besides….           

            “Gary picked up another mount,” Scott said. “So we’re riding together for the first time since 1998 at Del Mar .”           

            Stevens has ridden in Grade I races, on Great Communicator, but his biggest purse to date is $500,000. “I was on Real Quiet in the Indian Nations Futurity and on Great Communicator at Hollywood Park in the 1980s,” he recalled. “And I rode in the Sunland Park Derby.” So, this is indeed the opportunity of a career for the 53-year-old Stevens. 

            Broadway Empire won the Canadian Derby and the Oklahoma Derby last year and finished ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Stevens truly believes he has a shot in the upcoming race.           

            “This horse is extremely, extremely talented,” he said. “He has tactical speed. If the pace is slow, he can be on the lead.  If it’s fast, he doesn’t mind settling in right behind the leaders. I truly believe he has a heck of a shot.” 

            Broadway Empire got into traffic trouble in the race on Derby Day and ran fourth.

            “I was so bummed,” Scott said.

            That’s because he knows what this fellow can do. “I had been working him since he came back this year,” Stevens said. “He did a 14 flat for 6 1/2 in Phoenix. He’s very, very fast.” 

            He knew that the first time he saw him race. “He broke his maiden in Phoenix and won by 12 with Geovanni Franco riding him,” he explained.  

            Diodoro’s cell phone began lighting up once word got out that Scott was going to ride the horse for him in New York. “I began getting texts and messages from Phoenix. Everybody was excited,” said Diodoro, who owns 51 percent of the horse.           

            The decision to use Scott in this race came about as Diodoro and a friend were driving down Highway 169 near the track. Diodoro was thinking about the race and began making calls to the other owners. Everyone agreed.”      

            “This is a weird horse,” Diodoro said. “But he seems to relax with Scott. He can work this horse.”           

            “He’s working as good as he ever has,” said Stevens, with this addendum: 

            “I’m not going to New York just to be there,” he said. “I’m going there to win.”

 by Jim Wells

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Comments

  1. This message is for Scott — I don’t know about everyone else, but as an owner at Turf Paradise, I wish you the best in the race and will celebrate your win at least in spirit — you have ridden for us and I hope you will ride for us again — our trainer is Drew Fulmer — you can follow up on sunshineracing.org

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