Michael M. Hui’s Zulu Alpha earned his second consecutive graded stakes score on the turf in the $200,000 Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2T) March 2 at Gulfstream Park.
After starting the year on a high note with a half-length win in the Jan. 26 W.L. McKnight Stakes (G3T) at Gulfstream, the Mike Maker trainee emerged as the even-money favorite Saturday and lived up to the promise.
Under Irad Ortiz Jr., Zulu Alpha settled in midpack from the break in the 11-horse field. On the rail, Village King established a half-length lead from the break and led through fractions of :24.93 and :51.05 for the first half-mile.
Close on the leaders’ heels, grade 1-winning Channel Maker—who was making his first start since the Jan. 26 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational Stakes (G1T)—pressed Village King and was running just a head behind the leader as they hit the mile in 1:41.89.
Three wide through the second and third turns, Zulu Alpha moved up to run on even terms with Village King, the dueling pair flanking Channel Maker briefly before pulling ahead to the wire.