Diamond Digger runs record to 4-for-4 in Winnipeg Futurity

Thursday, September 9th, 2021

Diamond Digger rolls to victory in the Winnipeg Futurity. J. Halstead/Assiniboia Photo

By Tom Law

Next stop, Arizona.

That’s the likely itinerary for the summertime star of Assiniboia Downs, New York-bred 2-year-old gelding Diamond Digger, who improved to 4-for-4 in Wednesday night’s $35,000 Winnipeg Futurity in Manitoba.

Under regular rider Stanley Chadee Jr., the 2-year-old Violance gelding won the 6-furlong Futurity by 3 1/2 lengths as the 1-5 betting choice over Favorite with Kiton another 1 ¾ lengths back in third. Diamond Digger won in 1:13.80.

Bred by Milfer Farm Inc. and racing for the partnership The Young And The Rest Of Us, Diamond Digger previously won the Graduation

Stakes Aug. 4 and Osiris Stakes Aug. 23, both at Assiniboia Downs. After the Osiris, where he beat Favorite by 3 3/4 lengths, trainer Michael Nault said he’d likely send the gelding south for the winter with eyes on a big prize back home next summer.

“He’ll go in (the Futurity) and from there we’ll probably send him to Arizona for the winter,” Nault said. “I used to go there, too, but I’m not going to this year because of covid and everything. We’re going to send him to another guy. Don Schnell. He’ll go with him for the winter. Keep him in Arizona, train him lightly, maybe run him a few times and get him back here.

“If he’s what we think he’s going to be he’s our Derby horse for next year. The Manitoba Derby.”

Diamond Digger’s team celebrates his third straight stakes win. J. Halstead/Assiniboia Photo

The Manitoba Derby goes for a $100,000 purse in early August. Nault said last month that he expects even more from the gelding out of the Pulpit mare Prayer Bell.

“He’s still tall and gangly, about 16 2, but he’s going to fill out,” he said. “If he develops and everything, stays healthy and things keep going right he’ll be a Class A horse up here.

“He’s fitting here well. He’s going to fit in a lot of places, this horse. Just a professional. A thrill. A 5-year-old kid could pat on him, a 5-year-old kid could gallop him. Just a pro.”

Bred and foaled at Dr. Jon Davis’ Milfer Farm in Unadilla, Diamond Digger was sold to his owners for $2,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky sale by Legacy Bloodstock.

He’s the third foal out of Prayer Bell, a maiden winner at Keeneland in 2014 for trainer Charlie LoPresti. She sold in foal to Lookin At Lucky for $70,000 to Winchester Farm at the 2015 Keeneland November breeding stock sale, and the subsequent foal named Lookin At Liberty sold for $200,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September yearling sale. He went 2-2-1 in nine starts and earned $91,850 racing in Kentucky in 2020.

Prayer Bell’s second foal, the Verrazano filly Chic Bella, sold for $30,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September sale and $50,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May 2-year-olds in training sale.

Prayer Bell went through the Keeneland ring one more time, in 2018 at the November sale in foal carrying Diamond Digger in utero, and sold to Milfer Farm for $57,000.

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