While all eyes will be on Justify ahead of the 142nd Preakness Stakes, there will be at least one other horse entering the fray coming off a win. Diamond King recently won the 2018 Federico Tesio at Laural Park, a race that often serves as a Preakness prep for non-traditional derby trail contenders. He aims to conquer one of the sport’s most elusive double results.
The problem isn’t just that Diamond King is running head first in to an ultra talented horse in Justify. That particular pathway to the Preakness hasn’t been promising. It’s been 35 years since Deputed Testinomy scored in both the Federico Tesio and the Preakness back in 1983. He’s the first and only horse to have done so.
It’s safe to say that Diamond King is a bit of a late bloomer. He ticked his maiden back in September at Parx, and then again at an allowance a month later. He was then slated as a top choice for the 2017 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes but tossed his rider and was relegated back to 12th. A soft debut in the 2018 Swale produced a third place finish, but a rebound in the Federico Tesio has trainer John Servis thrilled about getting back to the Preakness.
“It looks like we’re heading to the Preakness,” Servis commented. “It’s always exciting to be able to come back and be a part of it. He didn’t get a chance to run in the Derby because he didn’t have the points, but the winner was very impressive. I’m excited about it.”
Diamond King is also ready after some solid drilling. The travel won’t be much as he’s already in Maryland, which may be an inside advantage depending on how you look at it. Obviously, even Servis knows that Justify is going to be hard to beat after a rousing victory in the 2018 Kentucky Derby. Diamond King, however, is trained well and looks primed after his last workout.
“He came out of it great. It was just a maintenance work—just a nice, easy half-mile by himself. We just wanted to let him stretch his legs a little bit,” Servis continued. “He’ll work again this weekend, but I don’t know what day. I’m planning on Sunday, but I’m not sure. We’ll have to see how the weather shakes out.”
Diamond King is 4-0-1 in six starts with $222,600 in career earnings. He is a Quality Road colt with Malibu Moon as his grandsire.