(Our very own Diamond Solitaire captures her first Stakes win in the Shelby County Handicap / Photos by Coady Media)

From the Horseshoe Indianapolis Media Team / Tammy Knox:

Diamond Solitaire overcomes obstacles enroute to

Shelby County Handicap at Horseshoe Indianapolis

 

SHELBYVILLE, Ind. (Wednesday, June 5, 2024) – It is hard to believe that a horse with more than $300,000 on her card just earned her first premier racing win Wednesday, June 5 in the 22nd running of the $100,000 Shelby County Handicap. The Indiana sired mare, who has hit the board numerous times in premier events, scored the victory for her longtime connections making up the Diamond Solitaire Partnership.

Diamond Solitaire had a big ask starting from the outside post 12 in the lineup of female contenders. But Jockey Alex Achard was patient on the six-year-old mare and sat behind the early speed led by Girls are Tuffer ridden by Albin Jimenez on the inside tracked closely by Juradicial and Edgar Morales on the outside. Imagine the Moon was also in contention early on for DeShawn Parker.

Heading into the only turn of the six-furlong sprint, the field began to bunch up and Diamond Solitaire was on the outside in fourth behind the top trio of horses. Heading into the turn, Achard dipped inward and found an open seam before moving up the inside. Achard asked the mare for another gear, and she responded, shooting up the inside to snag the win by one and three-quarter lengths in a time of 1:11.29. Imagine the Moon finished second, just a neck ahead of Girls are Tuffer.

“I was trying my best not to go wide, but sometimes you don’t have a choice,” added Achard, a native of France. “Coming around the turn, I saw a good sized gap between horses. There was plenty of room, so we moved down and got that spot. Once we ended up at the rail, she paused a little, but then she switched gears and took off again. She ran a great race today as she is really a two turn mare. Ethan (West) has done a great job keeping her fit and ready to go.”

Diamond Solitaire paid her backers $12.20 to win. The daughter of Majestic Harbor was bred by David Osborne, Loren Hebel Osborne, and Gene McLean. She grew up with another filly from the Osborne’s farm, former Indiana premier race winner Pearl Tiara. When it came time to put them in training, Diamond Solitaire was offered for a fractional ownership program, which includes a plethora of owners. Since that time, she has won six races and mor than $370,000 in earnings, but it wasn’t until her win in the Shelby County Handicap that she can add a premier racing title to her credentials.

According to a previous release from McLean, who oversees operations of the racing podcast “The Pressbox,” Diamond Solitaire’s dam, Diamond Seeker, passed away just days after she was born, putting McLean and the Osborne’s to the task of getting a nurse mare to raise her. The days old filly also recovered from a broken leg sustained when traveling to the clinic with her dam. The odds for Diamond Solitaire were mounting from a young age, but she has overcome them all to now be an elevated race winner.

Diamond Solitaire joined the Ethan West Stable for her six-year-old campaign. The win in the Shelby County Handicap was her first win for West in her second start for his stable.

“We got her coming into the meet,” noted West, who is a Graded Stakes winning trainer who started his own stable in 2018 after years working for his brother Aaron West. “She is a pretty classy mare. We just try to stay out of her way.”

The 22nd season of live Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing extends through Thursday, Nov. 14. Racing is held Monday through Thursday at 2:10 p.m. All Quarter Horse dates are set for 10:45 a.m. Saturdays June 29, July 20, Aug. 10, Aug. 31, and Oct. 5. Indiana’s featured event, the Grade 3 $300,000 Indiana Derby is Saturday, July 6 with a first post time of 12 p.m. For more information on live racing at Horseshoe Indianapolis, visit www.caesars.com/horseshoe-indianapolis/racing or find the track on Social Media @HSIndyRacing.