03/05/2016 7:19PM

Grand Tito, often stakes-placed, finally scores victory in Mac Diarmida

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Barbara D. Livingston
Grand Tito tastes stakes victory for the first time in the Mac Diarmida, paying $20.40.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Grand Tito proved he is just as good around three turns as he is around two, parlaying a well-judged ride by Emisael Jaramillo into a 1 1/4-length victory over Kaigun in Saturday’s Grade 2 Mac Diarmida at Gulfstream Park. Mr Maybe, the 9-5 favorite, finished third.

Grand Tito came into the race graded stakes-placed five times over the previous 13 months. Several of those races were hard luck losses, but still left Grand Tito without a graded stakes win on his resume. He was not to be denied in the 1 3/8-mile Mac Diarmida.

Racing well-placed on the very firm turf course, Grand Tito stalked the pace of O’Prado Ole, assumed command entering the stretch, edged clear, then readily held safe from a final try by Kaigun. The latter, never far back, rallied mildly but was second-best for the fourth consecutive time, all in graded stakes. Mr Maybe wound up racing near the rear of the field for much of the trip while never menacing the top pair with a belated bid.

Da Big Hoss was hung wide throughout and never menaced while Twilight Eclipse finished seventh and last making his first start since the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Turf.

Grand Tito, a 6-year-old son of Candy Ride, is trained by Gustavo Delgado for the Grupo 7C Racing Stable. He covered the distance in 2:12.55 and paid $20.40.

"Jaramillo (Emisael) did a great job," said Delgado. "After the race at Keeneland (Shadwell Turf Mile) we gave him four months off and he’s had two nice races since. We are very proud of him."