Florida-bred Shaq Diesel is one of three contenders assigned to carry the top weight of 120 pounds for Saturday’s $75,000 Wildcat Red Overnight Handicap at Gulfstream Park along with 2-1 morning line favorite Black Belt and the Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained Lord Miles. Shaq Diesel is the 5-2 second choice in the program among the eight 3-year-olds and older entered in the one-mile contest.

The 4-year-old son of Journeyman Stud’s leading sire Khozan is one of three Florida-breds in the race along with the Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained Ticking and Sir Saffer from the Kathleen O’Connell barn.

The purse includes a $5,000 win bonus for Florida-breds presented by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association.

Third behind winner Octane in the $100,000 Big Drama going seven furlongs at Gulfstream on May 25 in his last race, Shaq Diesel has won two of his five starts this year, all at Gulfstream. He started the year winning a first-level, $25,000 optional claiming going a mile on Jan. 19 and won an upper level, $62,500 optional claiming two starts back going seven furlongs on April 20. 

His only losses this year came against stakes competition having finished fourth in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Mile won by Steal Sunshine on March 2 and an eighth after a troubled trip in the $135,000 Sir Shackleton won by Oscar Eclipse going seven furlongs on March 30. 

Shaq Diesel is trained by David Fawkes for Chester Bishop, Anthony Hinkson, Alvin Rampaul, Patrick Biggs and Donovan Sanford and has won seven with a second and two thirds in 17 career starts with earnings of $268,590. 

He is out of Kleodora, by Tiznow and was bred in Florida by Bishop Racing Inc. 

Shag Diesel will break from post four with Miguel Vasquez getting the return call.

Ticking has been assigned 117 pounds after finishing fifth in the Big Drama in his last race and seventh in the Sir Shackleton.

Owned by Leon Ellman, Glassman Racing LLC and Laurie Plesa, Ticking started the year with a length-and-a-quarter score against top level, $62,500 optional claimers going seven furlongs at Gulfstream on Jan. 20.

Ticking is by Bolt d’Oro out of Polyester, by Tiz Wonderful and has won three of 10 starts with a third while banking $154,065. He was bred in Florida by France and Iwin Weiner and Valery and Tristan de Meric. He sold for $675,000 out of the de Meric Sales consignment at the 2022 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Spring Sale.

Kent Desormeaux will ride Ticking from post three. He is 15-1 on the morning line.

Sir Saffer has a 117-pound impost and is 20-1 in the program.

The 5-year-old gelded son of Bridlewood Farm stallion Valiant Minister was a two-and-a-half-length winner of a second condition, $32,000 optional claiming going a mile-and-40-yards at Tampa Bay Downs on April 20 and returns to the main track after his last race going a mile on the turf. He was fourth in that race, beaten two lengths by winner Fly the W in a $50,000 optional claiming starter allowance on May 24 at Gulfstream.

Bred in Florida by Joseph DiBello and owned by DiBello Racing Stable Inc., Sir Saffer is out of Bluesville, by Bring the Heat. The 5-year-old gelding has won five of 25 lifetime starts with three seconds and two thirds while banking $142,225.

Sir Saffer has the outside post eight and jockey Jose Ferrer.

Trainer Peter Walder returns Black Belt to Gulfstream Park after finishing ninth in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap won by Red Route One going nine furlongs at Fair Grounds on March 23.

His six previous starts all came at Gulfstream where he won two with two seconds and a third including a three-and-a-half-length score in an upper level, $62,500 optional claiming going a mile-and-a-sixteenth on Feb. 17.

Black Belt’s career record reflects seven wins, two seconds and two thirds from 24 races and earnings of $213,100.

Edwin Gonzalez will ride Black Belt from post one.

The accomplished Lord Miles won the Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts Word Casino last year at Aqueduct in April and was second to Florida-bred Damon’s Mound in the $350,000 Robert Hilton Memorial at Charles Town on Aug. 25. 

In one start this year, however, he was seventh in the April 20 optional claiming won by Shaq Diesel at Gulfstream.

Drayden Van Dyke will ride Lord Miles from post seven and they are 8-1 on the morning line.

Rounding out the field are Coppermaster with jockey Edgar Perez, Love Me Not with Jose Morelos aboard and Edgard Zayas rides Positive Review.

Return to the June 21 issue of Wire to Wire