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Tacher, Diaz Hope to Live the Dream in Saturday’s Clasico del Caribe

Dec 6, 2017
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – When Justiciero goes to post for Saturday’s $300,000 Clasico del Caribe, the highlight of the $600,000 Clasico Internacional del Caribe’s five-stakes event on Gulfstream’s 11-race card, the Puerto Rico Triple Crown winner will have the power to fulfill the dreams of both his owner Mark Tacher and his jockey Juan Carlos Diaz.

Neither Tacher nor Diaz has won the 1 1/8-mile event for 3-year-olds, which will be held for the first time outside the Caribbean and Latin America.

Diaz, has been the dominant jockey in his native country for many years, amassing nearly 4,500 career wins before venturing this fall to South Florida, where he has been riding with success since Puerto Rico’s Camarero Race Track was ravaged by Hurricane Maria in September.

“Juan Carlos Diaz is one of the best jockeys in the history of Puerto Rico. Sonata Stable, my stable, is the leading owner in Puerto Rico this year. Diaz has been a big part of the success we’re had this year. He’s our main jockey. We get along great. We have great communication with him,” Tacher said during Wednesday’s post position draw at Gulfstream. “We’re very hopeful he will fulfill his dream of winning this Clasico del Caribe, because it will also fulfill my dreams.”

Diaz was aboard for Justiciero’s Triple Crown sweep and seven wins in his last eight starts.

“In Puerto Rico, it is a little difficult now,” said the 40-year-old Diaz, who rode out the storm with his wife and two children while the walls of his apartment shook. “I know it’s difficult to travel. But I invite them to come or follow and support our Puerto Rican team, and I know a lot of Puerto Ricans will be watching the races. Some of my followers have called me to show support and I tell them it’s going to be a great race, God willing.”

Tacher will also be represented in the Clasico del Caribe by Platino, who finished second behind Justiciero in an exhibition race that was held at still-shuttered Camarero for the purposes of qualifying and preparing horses for Saturday’s big event at Gulfstream.

“It’s been a tough year for Puerto Rico. Justiciero and Platino represent the island and we’re looking for a good race for both horses,” said Tacher, whose Clasico del Caribe entrants are trained by Raymond Morales. “A victory would mean so much for the people of Puerto Rico, We can only pray and hope.”

Platino, who will be ridden by Gulfstream-based Roberto Alvarado Jr., drew post No. 1, while Justiciero drew post No. 7 during Wednesday’s draw.

“We’re very happy with the post draw. I talked to the trainer and our people and we all agree that luck was with us today. We have two very good post positions,” Tacher said. “Platino is a very fast horse, so I think he’s going to love that inside post. Justiciero comes off the pace, so actually we would have been happy with whatever post he got.”
Justiciero was rated second in the morning line at 7-2 behind Venezuela’s El Cubita, the slight 3-1 favorite. Platino was rated at 10-1 in the field of 12 sophomores.

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