08/03/2013 5:26PM

Gulfstream Park: Black Diamond Cat springs $40 upset in Housebuster

Beth Arkin
Black Diamond Cat upsets the Housebuster under jockey Luca Panici.

Black Diamond Cat snapped a 19-race losing streak with his victory in the Ponche Handicap on June 8. Eight weeks and two starts later he was back in the winner’s circle after soundly beating a stellar field that included two Grade 1 winners in Saturday’s $100,000 Housebuster at Gulfstream Park.

Black Diamond Cat, a 6-year-old son of Wildcat Heir owned by Bluestone Thoroughbreds, benefitted from a perfectly judged ride by Luca Panici, who is now 2 for 3 aboard Black Diamond Cat since being teamed up with the veteran gelding for the first time by trainer Larry Bates in the Ponche.

Black Diamond Cat rated within easy striking distance of a fast early pace set by Artefacto, who posted splits of 23.43 and 46.08 seconds for the opening half-mile of the inaugural Housebuster. Panici eased Black Diamond Cat outside to engage the leader for command into the stretch, quickly pulled clear, and was never seriously threatened thereafter, hitting the wire two lengths in front of the late-running Close It Out, who rallied belatedly along the rail.

Jackson Bend and Swagger Jack, the 3-2 favorite, won the last two editions of the Grade 1 Carter. They finished third and fourth, respectively.

Black Diamond Cat paid $40.80 after completing seven furlongs in 1:22.93 over a “good” track.

"He prepped really well for this,” said Bates. “The weather really helped him, he’s run well on an off track in the past, and so did the way the race set up. He’s such an honest horse. That’s a lovely field that was behind him. He’s a little underrated, but we think a lot of him. We’ve had some problems that we’ve ironed out over time. I’d like to say he’s like a good whiskey – he improves with age. It’s great that he’s getting a little recognition. A horse like him keeps you going.”