CLIFF DIVER PULLS OFF UPSET IN FEATURED TURF ALLOWANCE RACE WITH STRONG TURF RIDER LANE LUZZI
Trainer J.R. Caldwell changed riders to Lane Luzzi aboard Cliff Diver in the featured turf allowance on Saturday night at Remington park. The move did wonders for the longshot as they came home a winner at 11-1 odds.
Despite the fact that the 3-year-old gelding by Bird Song, out of the Mr. Greeley mare Ocean Spray Too, had run first, second or third in all five of his lifetime starts, he was virtually ignored on the toteboard. Luzzi has won 16 percent of all his grass starts this year and was magic in the saddle for the first time on Cliff Diver, who returned to the turf.
Cliff Diver had broken his maiden for owners Parker and Danielle Ferguson of Norman, Okla., at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, on the dirt, going 1-1/16 miles on July 24, but he had run a couple of strong races greensward before that. On May 22, he stepped on the lawn for the first time in his career against maiden company at Lone Star and ran third, beaten 3-3/4 lengths to Blue Boon, the favorite in this race tonight. It was the rematch for these two coming down the stretch and it was Cliff Diver’s revenge. His late turn of foot was enough to outbattle Blue Boon (2-1) down the lane this time by a full length.
The winner earned $20,145 from the $34,000 purse and improved to six starts, two wins, one second and three thirds with a bankroll of $53,829. Cliff Diver was bred in Kentucky by Jim Plemmons. He paid $24.20 to win, $11.80 to place and $5 to show to those who supported him at the window.
The chestnut gelding finished the turf distance of about one mile in 1:38.51 over the firm going, after Luzzi let him settle in eighth, well behind the front-runners. Papa Rizzo (5-1) and Exeter (5-1) set the early fractions of :24.22 for the first quarter-mile, :49.02 for the half-mile and 1:13.67 for six furlongs before Cliff Diver and Blue Boon passed them at the top of the stretch. The seven-furlongs split was 1:26.41. Blue Boon held off the late run of Rvindicated (9-5 post-time favorite) who checked in third another 1-3/4 lengths back of the runner-up.
Cliff Diver may end up being a versatile horse that can switch surfaces with no problem. On Aug. 11 at Remington Park on the main track he worked a five-furlong bullet in 1:00-1/5, the fastest workout of 10 horses that went that distance on the morning of Aug. 11.
Live racing at Remington Park continues Wednesday-Saturday, Oct. 5-8. First post time is 7:07 p.m. nightly.
Tracked by more than 171,000 fans on Facebook and 10,600 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided more than $301 Million to the State of Oklahoma general education fund since the opening of the casino in 2005. Located at the junction of Interstates 35 & 44, in the heart of the Oklahoma City Adventure District, Remington Park features the top Oklahoma-breds in racing on Oklahoma Classics Night, a million-dollar evening of stakes events on Friday, October 21. Thoroughbred racing continues through December 17 with simulcast racing daily, and a casino that is always open! Visit remingtonpark.com for more information.