01/11/2011 3:31PM

Diamond Geezah makes U.S. debut at Santa Anita


ARCADIA, Calif. – Jamie Lloyd trains horses, but he also has had success buying European imports and selling them to other trainers, his most notable success being St. Trinians, who blossomed under the care of trainer Mike Mitchell and gave Zenyatta a scare in last year’s Grade 1 Vanity Handicap.

So when Lloyd approached Mitchell about buying a group of horses last fall at Tattersalls in Newmarket, England, Mitchell was quick to react. He enlisted his long-time owner, Dr. Dan Capen, and then Lloyd threw a vine to syndicated radio host Jim Rome, who races as Jungle Racing LLC.

Four horses were purchased for those two men, and the first of that bunch, Diamond Geezah, makes his U.S. debut Thursday at Santa Anita in the day’s featured seventh race, an optional claimer for 3-year-olds on the 6 1/2-furlong downhill turf course.

Diamond Geezah ran eight times last year at age 2 for trainer Barry Hills. His lone win came in a maiden auction stakes, but he was well-regarded enough to run in a listed stakes during the Royal Ascot meeting.

“I thought 6 1/2 would be the perfect place to start,” Mitchell said. “He acclimated fast. The third day here he was trying to kill everybody, so I took him to the track. He blew out real sharply for this.”

The main rival to Diamond Geezah appears to be a horse who ran in that same race at Royal Ascot, the Windsor Castle Stakes. Metropolitan Man was taken there after a runaway debut win at Keeneland last April. He finished ninth in the Windsor Castle, 1 1/4 lengths behind Diamond Geezah. Metropolitan Man is making his first start since then. He obviously runs well fresh and has turned in a sharp series of works for his return for trainer Vladimir Cerin.

Six horses are entered in the race, two of whom – Celestic Night and Offlee Wild Boys – have won twice and thus are in for the $80,000 claiming tag. Celestic Night is turning back to a sprint after getting rank when going two turns in the Eddie Logan Stakes on Dec. 31.

Dime is trying the turf for the first time and has been gelded since his last start. He was a narrow loser of a starter allowance race at Hollywood Park in his last start Dec. 18.

Wealthy Aviator also is getting on turf for the first time. He returns to Southern California after a pair of sprints on the synthetic Tapeta surface at Golden Gate Fields. Garrett Gomez rides him for the first time.