09/30/2013 3:21PM

Remington Park: Broadway Empire eyes Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, Zia Park Derby

Dustin Orona Photography
Broadway Empire, with Rico Walcott riding, wins the Oklahoma Derby by four lengths.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Derby winner Broadway Empire has a handful of options for his next start, ranging from the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile to the Zia Park Derby, trainer Robertino Diodoro said Monday. The Oklahoma Derby, which was run Sunday at Remington Park, was the third straight stakes win for the horse, whose streak includes a victory in the Grade 3 Canadian Derby at Northlands Park.

Broadway Empire put up a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 99 in the Oklahoma Derby, which he won by four lengths over Cameo Appearance. Broadway Empire led throughout under jockey Rico Walcott, and after scooting away from the field through a mile in 1:35.97, he finished the 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:49.44.

On Monday at Remington, the horse walked the shed row as Diodoro, who has divisions of his stable at Santa Anita and Turf Paradise, contemplated Broadway Empire’s next move. Diodoro, 39, already is getting input from some of his fellow horsemen out West.

“Some of the agents in California and even a couple of trainers have been texting me,” he said, “teasing me, telling me maybe I can buy myself a suit now for November.”

Diodoro said if Broadway Empire were to target a Breeders’ Cup race, it would most likely be the $1 million Dirt Mile at Santa Anita on Nov. 1. He did not, however, rule out the $5 million Classic on Nov. 2.

“He ran an impressive race yesterday, but I think he could end up being a better miler,” Diodoro said. “He’s got natural speed.

“But I don’t know if [the Breeders’ Cup] is the right move or not. It’s always a dream, especially being stabled at Santa Anita. But we don’t want to get caught up in all the glamour and stuff. We want to make sure we do the right thing by the horse.”

Diodoro said he also would look over some of the undercard stakes supporting the Breeders’ Cup races at Santa Anita.

Another possible path is the $200,000 Zia Park Derby, a 1 1/8-mile race to be run in Hobbs, N.M., on Nov. 24. Diodoro has won the race before, in 2011 with First Strike.

Broadway Empire was to ship Tuesday to Turf Paradise, then is scheduled to arrive at Santa Anita by the middle of October. Diodoro has a 21-horse stable at Santa Anita and has about 75 head in training. Diodoro, whose grandfather, Jim Dorman, was a trainer, chose a career in racing after spending time playing semi-pro hockey.

Broadway Empire races for four men from Alberta, Canada: Randy Howg, Bob Butz, Fouad El Kardy, and Rick Running Rabbit. Broadway Empire is a gelding by Empire Maker and was bred in Kentucky by Mercedes Stable.

Vacation for Departing

Departing, who finished fourth as the 1-5 favorite in the Oklahoma Derby, left Remington on Monday morning bound for Churchill Downs, trainer Al Stall Jr. said. The horse is to have some vacation time and will spend it at Claiborne Farm.

“It’s a well-deserved break,” Stall said.

Stall said Departing would likely resume training the first part of January at Fair Grounds.

Departing won the Grade 2, $750,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer and the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs immediately preceding the Oklahoma Derby. In the race Sunday, he moved up to third around the final turn, then was overtaken late in the drive for the show spot. Departing earned a 90 Beyer, one start after a career-best 104.

“He ran a really good race at Louisiana Downs in 98-degree heat, and that might have flattened him a little bit,” Stall said. “He didn’t train that way, but the race was telltale.”

Stall said it appears Departing emerged from the Oklahoma Derby in good physical condition.

Departing carried the bulk of the show pool Sunday, with $273,377 of the $289,595 in it bet on the gelding.

Departing’s finish triggered a track-record show payoff of $76.40 on third-place finisher Carve. The old record was $47.40. Broadway Empire paid $30 to show, and Cameo Appearance paid $43.60.

◗ Remington handled $1,506,202 on its 10-race card from all sources. Of that amount, $1,279,812 was bet offtrack and $226,390 ontrack.