Bachelor & Dig a Diamond Stakes

Compiled by Robert Yates

Contact: Chris Ho, Vice President of Marketing,, 501-623-4411 ext. 4201

Saturday, April 27, 2024

VALENTINE CANDY - Photo Credit: Coady Media
Bachelor Stakes - 37th Running

HOOSIER PHILLY - Photo Credit: Coady Media
Dig a Diamond Stakes - 2nd Running

HOT SPRINGS, AR (Saturday, April 27, 2024) – It was another sweet ending at Oaklawn for Valentine Candy, whose late burst of speed propelled his Hall of Fame trainer onto a new page of the Oaklawn record book.

Valentine Candy became the first horse in 33 years to win four stakes races at an Oaklawn meeting in the $200,000 Bachelor for 3-year-old sprinters before an estimated crowd of 22,000 on a mostly cloudy, windy Saturday afternoon.

Under regular rider Ricardo Santana Jr., Valentine Candy, the 7-5 favorite, collared front-running Frost Free on the outside inside the sixteenth pole enroute to a 1 ½-length victory. Frost Free held second, 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Cats by Five. Time for Truth, Bergen, Market Street and Drewmania completed the order of finish.

Valentine Candy ($4.80) represented the record 10th stakes victory of the 2023-2024 Oaklawn meeting for Steve Asmussen, who already holds local training records for victories (942) and titles (12).

Asmussen also became the first trainer in Oaklawn history to win the same stakes race nine times, breaking a record he shared with Hall of Famer Bob Baffert. In addition to the Bachelor, Asmussen has won the Carousel eight times. Baffert has eight victories in the Rebel, a major Kentucky Derby prep.

Valentine Candy, a chestnut son of 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify, punctuated his 4 for 4 Oaklawn campaign in the six-furlong Bachelor. Valentine Candy previously won the 150,000 Advent Stakes at 5 ½ furlongs Dec. 8, $150,000 Renaissance Stakes at six furlongs Dec. 31 and $150,000 Ozark Stakes at six furlongs Feb. 10.

Overpeer was the last four-time stakes winner during a single Oaklawn season. He completed the feat in 1991. The first was Rare Brick in 1985.

Following a good break from post 6, Valentine Candy tracked Frost Free through swift fractions of :21.68 for the opening quarter and :45.17 for a half-mile. Frost Free held a two-length advantage in midstretch before being worn down late. Valentine Candy, under top weight of 124 pounds, covered six furlongs over a good surface in 1:10.18.

Valentine Candy won for the fifth time in nine starts to push his lifetime earnings to $477,875. Valentine Candy returned to dirt after prepping for the Bachelor with a fourth-place finish in the $250,000 Animal Kingdom Stakes over a synthetic surface March 23 at Turfway Park. The Animal Kingdom was also six furlongs.

A $250,000 yearling purchase, Valentine Candy races for an ownership group that includes Texans William and Corinne Heiligbrodt. Asmussen and the Heiligbrodts teamed to win the 2018 Bachelor with future Eclipse Award recipient Mitole and last year’s running with Ryvit.

Asmussen also won the Bachelor in 1996 (Valid Expectations), 2008 (Lantana Mob), 2015 (Holy Boss), 2016 (Counterforce), 2019 (Nitrous) and 2021 (Jaxon Traveler).

The Bachelor was the 66th victory of the 2023-2024 meeting for Asmussen, establishing a single-season personal best at Oaklawn, and his record-extending 114th career Oaklawn stakes victory.


The accomplished Hoosier Philly emphatically snapped a four-race losing streak in the $200,000 Dig A Diamond Stakes.

Justifying her 6-5 favoritism, Hoosier Philly split horses along the inside in the upper stretch and rolled to a 3 ¾-length victory in the one-mile race for older fillies and mares. Absinthe, a 17-1 long shot, finished second, a half-length ahead of Indiana-bred standout Bluelightspecial.

Rafael Bejarano rode Hoosier Philly, a 4-year-old daughter of super sire Into Mischief, for trainer Tom Amoss and owner Gold Standard Racing Stable, LLC (Bill Stone).

Hoosier Philly was an unbeaten Grade 2 winner at 2, but the Dig A Diamond marked her first victory since the $175,000 Monomoy Girl Overnight Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at one mile June 17 at Ellis Park. Her four-race skid included a ninth-place finish in the $2 million G1-Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Nov. 4 at Santa Anita and even fifth in her last start, the $250,000 Matron Stakes for older female sprinters March 30 at Oaklawn. Hoosier Philly ($4.40) removed blinkers for what Amoss called her preferred distance.

The only anxious moment was late on the second turn when Hoosier Philly, in tight along the inside, was racing just behind front-runners Stellar Lily and Bluelightspecial. Approaching the three-sixteenths pole, a patient Bejarano found a seam between a tiring Stellar Lily (rail) and Bluelightspecial and Hoosier Philly quickly took command.

Bluelightspecial finished two lengths ahead of Wildwood Bye, who was followed, in order, by I’m the Boss of Me, Olivia Twist, Crypto Mo, Stellar Lily and Bow Draw. Racing over a fast track, Hoosier Philly ran one mile in 1:39.33.

Hoosier Philly raised her career earnings to $845,660 following her fifth victory in 12 starts. The Dig A Diamond was her fourth career stakes victory.

A $510,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale graduate, Hoosier Philly was three-for three as a 2-year-old. Her victories included the $400,000 G2-Golden Rod Stakes and $200,000 Rags to Riches Stakes. Both 1 1/16-mile races were at Churchill Downs.


Winning Jockey (Ricardo Santana Jr./Valentine Candy): “This is a super horse. I just waited as long as I could because he’s got such a short kick. I just waited turning for him. I wasn’t worried about the horse on the lead (Frost Free). When I asked him, he responded well.”

Winning Trainer (Steve Asmussen/Valentine Candy): “Just very happy to get him back here. Wonderful sprint series opportunities offered here and he’s the perfect horse for it. He’s very exciting and we expect him to have a big future.”

Second-place jockey (Ramon Vazquez/Frost Free): “I felt good at the quarter-pole. He was doing it easy. The other horse (Valentine Candy) just flew home.”


Winning Jockey (Rafael Bejarano/Hoosier Philly): “I was waiting only for the right moment. Such a nice filly. When she was warming up, she was ready. I knew she was going to be the filly to beat, so I just tried to be patient with her. When they came into the stretch and she saw the clear (path), I let her go. I didn’t even have to hit her. Just let her go.”

Winning Trainer (Tom Amoss/Hoosier Philly): “For Hoosier Philly, we wanted to get back on track with her. She needs to get her confidence back. And today’s race, she was in tight down the backside and tight around the turn. (Jockey Rafael Bejarano) didn’t panic. He got his opening. She kicked clear. I thought she ran a really good race and I think it’s a great race for her confidence.”