08/12/2006 12:00AM

Diabolical overpowers rivals in Nick Shuk

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Trainer Steve Klesaris's plan of bringing Diabolical to the Kent Breeders' Cup looks to be in good shape as Diabolical easily took the local prep for that race, the $75,000 Nick Shuk Memorial Stakes, at Delaware Park on Saturday as the even-money favorite.

Ridden by Mario Pino, Diabolical broke sharply and set fractions of 23.67 seconds, 48.36, and 1:12.05 while being prompted by 20-1 Broadway Ridge. On the final turn of the Shuk, a 1 1/16-mile grass race for 3-year-olds, Diabolical quickly extended his lead, and needed only mild urging from Pino to hold off a late bid by Silent Roar and Stewart Elliott.

Diabolical finished 2 3/4 lengths ahead of Silent Roar, the second betting choice, with What a Warrior another five lengths back in the field of seven. Kid Lemonade and Nashly's Runner were scratched. The final time was 1:41.95 on turf rated firm.

A son of Artax, Diabolical ($4) is owned by Klesaris along with Puglisi Stables.

He has now won four of his last five starts, with the only loss coming in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico in May.

The $500,000 Kent Breeders' Cup will be run Sept. 2.