Value Engineering Determined Winner of Mac Diarmida (G2)
Turns Back Marwad to Earn First Graded-Stakes Victory
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Michael Hui and Phil Forte’s Value Engineering, unable to hold off stablemate Red Knight in the W. L. McKnight (G3) five weeks ago, would not be denied again in a hard-fought three-quarter length victory over Marwad in Saturday’s $200,000 Mac Diarmida (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
The 1 3/8-mile Mac Diarmida for 4-year-olds and up on the grass was the eighth of nine stakes, eight graded, worth $1.85 million in purses on a blockbuster 14-race program anchored by the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) for 3-year-olds.
Value Engineering ($13.40), ridden by Jose Ortiz, gave trainer Mike Maker his second stakes win of the day following Endorsed in the $200,000 WinStar Gulfstream Park Mile (G2). Maker has now won four of the last five editions of the Mac Diarmida, previously with Temple (2022) and Zulu Alpha (2019-20).
Ortiz settled Value Engineering in fourth as 70-1 long shot Value Proposition was left alone on an early lead through fractions of 24.77 and 49.29 seconds, with multiple graded-stakes winner Astronaut leading the second flight. Value Proposition was still in front after six furlongs in 1:14.11 and a mile in 1:37.98 as Value Engineering moved into a challenging position.
Value Engineering was in front straightening for home as Marwad loomed a threat on the far outside, and the two engaged from the head of the lane with Master Piece joining the fray widest of all. Value Engineering, making his third start for Maker, determinedly turned back Marwad to earn his first graded-stakes win.
Marwad edged Master Piece for second with 5-2 favorite Highest Honors fourth.
$150,000 Mac Diarmida (G2) Quotes
Trainer Mike Maker (Value Engineering, 1st; Wicked Fast, 5th; Bemma’s Boy, 11th): “I thought he ran a great race last time. Today I was a little concerned he didn’t get away as clean as I’d hoped. Jose knows him and rode a beautiful race.”
Winning jockey Jose Ortiz (Value Engineering): “It feels great to win any type of ace, but to win a stake is very special. The horse is doing great. Mike has him in great form. He got a great trip. I just broke, sat there and waited as long as I could.”