Broadway Empire back in Shakopee

Broadway Empire

The rider was back on the job locally Sunday but wiped out on Monday. The horse was back in the barn on Monday and jogged for the first time on Thursday.

The trainer?

He’ll be back on the job locally late Friday night.

All concerned agree that the experience was well worth the effort..

Broadway Empire finished sixth in the Grade I $1.25 million Metropolitan Mile on the Belmont Stakes card last weekend, and trainer Robertino Diodoro says that experience was good for the horse, for the rider, Scott Stevens, for his owners and even for the trainer himself.

“For sure,” Diodoro said. “It was a good experience for all of us.”

Now, the fans at Canterbury Park who rooted for Broadway Empire will get another opportunity, this time in person. Diodoro said he plans to run the gelded son of Empire Maker on July 12 in the $100,000 Mystic Lake Mile in Shakopee.

“He jogged for the first time on Thursday morning,” Diodoro said. “He shipped really well and came back in great shape. We’re planning next on the Mystic Lake Mile on the 12th.”

Diodoro spoke from Santa Anita where he has a stable of 25 horses and was spending a couple of days this week, but his main base this summer is Canterbury Park where he has in excess of 50 horses and plans to rejoin them Friday night.

He was the leading trainer at Turf Paradise in Phoenix last winter and vowed during that meet to make up for what he termed a terrible debut at Canterbury Park last year. “Nothing went right,” he said.”I didn’t have the right horses and those that were right got sick or weren’t ready to run.”

All of that has changed this summer. Diodoro started 46 horses at Canterbury last summer, won a mere seven races and finished in the money a total of 19 times with earnings of $106,350. He has exceeded everything but number of starters and third place finishes in the first 14 days of racing (through Sunday) this year with nine wins, six seconds, four thirds and earnings of $140,572.

Shakopee is Diodoro’s home base this year by design, and he based the decision on what he likes about Canterbury in addition to the solid purse structure guaranteed by the agreement with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.

“Canterbury is a good spot. The purses are good and the atmosphere is great,” Diodoro said. “You can’t beat the live attendance. It really makes you feel like you’re at the races when walking in or leaving the paddock.”

There is more.

“Paul Allen does a great job, especially, with the young crowd. And with Angela (Hermann) in the paddock, that’s a pretty darn good team to get people involved. PA gets them wound up, and Angela deals out all the information.”

Now Diodoro will get Broadway Empire back in the mix on July 12, and Stevens once again is the likely rider after a solid effort at Belmont.

“Scott did a good job. The horse ran the best he could and now I probably have to take a step down with him. Those were some really good horses he ran against.”

Without saying…

The winner was Palace Malice, a winner of well over $2 million and four graded races including the 2013 Grade I Belmont Stakes. He finished a length in front of Goldencents, the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile winner last autumn.

Stevens, for his part, would do it all over again, despite giving up what he figured were five wins at Canterbury during the trip to New York.

“I’d do it all again for that experience,” he said. “There was no embarrassment with that horse. He ran really well.”

Afterward, Stevens had a front-row seat for the Belmont Stakes _ box 1, seat 1, directly in front of the finish line, from where he watched the race with his sister-in-law Angie and five-year-old niece Maddie, wife and daughter to brother Gary.

There was a price to pay for the experience nonetheless. “It took forever to get out of there afterward,” Stevens said, “so it was a late night. And I had fly back early Sunday morning to ride on the (Canterbury) card here. Monday was all a blur.”

Still a sixth-place finish in a $1.25 million race isn’t all that bad financially. It was worth around $35,000 to Broadway’s stable. “Everybody made money but the rider,” Stevens said whimsically. “I gave up some winning mounts here, but I’d do it all again _ in a minute.”

He’ll get another shot on Broadway Empire on July 12.

 by Jim Wells

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