Jockey Rafael Hernandez put Diavoletto on the lead right out of the gate and fought off challenges from the field of eleven at every point in the $50,000 Green Carpet Stakes at River Downs on Sunday. "He gave me no fight on the front end of the field and I was really able to relax him," said Hernandez came in from his home base at Fairmont Park where he is the second leading rider. "I could feel that filly (favored Aggressive Elegance) coming up on the inside late, but he just kept running for me."
Ironically, had it not been for an infertile Quarter Horse – there would have been no Diavoletto. 30-year-old Tiffany Raimonde owns the 3-year-old Ohio-bred gelding and she deals with show horses from her farm based in Centerburg, Ohio. "His dam looked like she'd produce a nice hunter jumper if she was bred to a Quarter Horse, we tried three times, but she never got in foal." Tiffany's father saw that the Smart Strike mare would make a good cross with Stephan Got Even and arranged a breeding with his nephew Brian as co-breeder. Obviously their choice was a good one, Diavoletto has never been worse than second in his six-race career.
Sadly, Paul Raimonde never got to see his horse run. He died in a car accident caused by a texting teen in August of 2011 and ownership was left to Tiffany, who is currently in nursing school. "Diavoletto won his first stakes race (the $50,000 Howard B. Noonan at Beulah Park) on my father's birthday," Tiffany said. "We are Italian and the horse's name means Little Devil."
Turned over to trainer Mike Rone, the gelding lived up to his name early in his career but has since turned into an easy horse to work with. "When he came in he was a bit of a 'Bronco'," said Rone, who gallops his own horses in the morning. "We put a lot of miles into him and he started to relax. We added blinkers and a shadow roll to keep him focused. He probably doesn't need them now, but if it ain't broke – don't fix it."
With his win in the Green Carpet, Diavoletto has now earned $84,180 in six starts. He covered the 1 1/16th mile turf course in 1:42.39 and paid $14.00 to win $4.80 to place and $4.20 to show. Favored Aggressive Elegance put in a very strong effort as the only filly in the field and rallied from fourth to finish ¾ lengths behind the winner to return $3.00 and $2.80. Eyes Super Freaky finished on the outside for a show payoff of $5.20.
River Downs will be open Memorial Day with live racing starting at 1:30 p.m. Admission and parking is free.