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Dec 26, 2014

Grand Contender takes home Diliberto Memorial


New Orleans. LA ( - Odds-on favorite Grand Contender benefited from a surface switch to capture Friday's $50,000 Buddy Diliberto Memorial Stakes at Fair Grounds.

Trained by Tom Amoss and ridden by Francisco Torres, Grand Contender went off as the 1-2 favorite in the 1 1/16-mile stakes on Fair Grounds' sloppy main track after being taken off the turf. Golden Soul, last year's Kentucky Derby runner-up, was the 2-1 second pick in the four-horse field after five scratches.

Owned by Maggi Moss, Grand Contender had control of the pace from the start as Torres never had to use the whip. The 6-year-old gelding cruised to a 1 1/2- length win over Treasury Bill who was nine lengths better than All Stormy. Golden Soul finished 13 1/2 lengths behind the winner.

The time for the Diliberto Memorial on a sealed-sloppy track was 1:44.84

Friday's win was Grand Contender's first since taking the Lone Star Park Handicap on May 26. That win was the final of three straight for the 6-year- old gelding including Delta Downs' Borgata Stakes and Lone Star's Texas Mile.

Grand Contender began 2014 with a pair of seconds at Fair Grounds in the Louisiana and Mineshaft Handicaps. Most recently he was third in both the Evangeline Mile and Delta Mile with a fourth in the Prairie Meadows Handicap sandwiched between.

The gelding has nine wins, three seconds and six thirds in 26 lifetime starts for $615,610.

Grand Contender returned $3.00 and $2.10. Treasury Bill paid $4.20 for place, there was no show wagering.

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