Friday night’s $12,300 eleventh race feature conditioned pace brings together a talented field of horses and while most of them have had to battle back from various ailments through the years, the road taken by Dashing Diplomat is probably the most unusual.
Now seven, Dashing Diplomat was Maywood Park’s Spring stake champion in 2003 at the age of three and one year later he paced a winning 1:49.1 mile at Balmoral Park. At five he started the year with Free For All win at the Crete, IL track, however by that summer his racing career almost came to an end.
“The horse tore a suspensory up front,” said his current trainer Jon Sheldon. “The horse ended up going a year and one-half in between starts.”
Dashing Diplomat didn’t race from mid-July of 2005 until mid-January of this year for his Mc Enery, Illinois owners Penelope and Michael Yates. Three starts later the Illinois bred pacer went wire-to-wire on February 9 in 1:56.1 with driver Ryan Anderson.
How he got back to the races is a story we’ll let trainer Sheldon tell.
“His owners have tried to fix his torn suspensory with stem cells,” said the 56-year-old Ohio native. “The first time didn’t work. The horse was brought back and qualified twice but he tore it again. This is the second time they’re trying with stem cells and it is holding to this point.
“They are trying x-cells, which is a new type of stem cell injection. Basically this horse’s got a little star by back by his tail. The doctors sucked out some fat tissues and took the stem cells out of them in then put them where the suspensory was torn. It is suppose to do this miraculous healing job and so far it’s working.
“This is pretty much cutting edge new stuff. So as the trainer I’m kind of the guinea pig on this to let them know if it works or not for standardbreds to race. They’ve done this on show horses. The jury is still our whether this is going to hold for an extended period or not for racing standardbreds. We’re taking it one start at a time and hoping for the best.”
Dashing Diplomat (3-1) will shoot out from the one-post in Friday’s eleventh race where he’ll certainly be tested. Starting in the two-post is Jo Pa’s Bench Mark (5-2) Dave Magee), who owns the track record here of 1:51.2 for an aged horse, and post six belongs to Tycoon Hanover (7-2, Mike Oosting) a romping winner of his last three races and all for different stables. He’s been claimed in each those three starts.
The field is completed with Robin Of Locklsey (6-1), Speakin Greek (6-1), Kennans Josh (15-1), Fox Valley Tigre (8-1) and Barb’s Bullet (20-1).
“Dashing Diplomat is in against some nice horses. It ought to be a fun race to watch,” said Sheldon, who resides in Harvard, IL.
“Dashing Diplomat used to be in Donnie Nolan’s stable and Gary Rath used to drive him,” continued Jon. “I’ve had the horse for about seven or eight months now. After he broke down the second time he ended up over by me. You’d have to say he’s had a little different path that brought him back to the races than most horses.”
When asked to describe Dashing Diplomat, Sheldon replied:
“He’s a race horse. Last Saturday when we raced at Balmoral he went back in the back corner of the stall to be by himself. He knows he’s a stud and he acts that way.”
Mike Paradise, director of publicity