A field of 11 older horses will go 11 furlongs on the Gulfstream Park turf course in Saturday’s $200,000 Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2). The last of 14 races on the day, hopefully it can get started before the sun goes down. What makes this year’s Mac Diarmida so tough is that there are no standouts and, to be honest, not a lot of Grade 2-caliber turf horses in it. Morning-line favorite CHANNEL MAKER (#11) (9-5) draws the far outside and, unless Joel Rosario can send him and make a clear led going into the first of three turns, I can’t see him being lit up early, turn it off and then turn it back on. He is very vulnerable and I don’t have him in my top three. MELMICH (#3) (15-1) ships in from Canada for trainer Kevin Attard, who wins an amazing 20 percent with graded runners and they show a healthy flat-bet profit. A Tapeta specialist who has won nearly $1 million over the surface, Melmich has only had two turf starts by the age of eight and no wins. However, in his last start, which came on this turf course going 1 1/16 miles, he rallied from dead last to get up for third in very fast time and now stretches out in distance. The chestnut gelding has won going similar distances before and all the Tapeta races have kept him sound all these years. Most importantly, he drew well and picks up Javier Castellano, who can save ground for the first two turns while running in the first tier. ZULU ALPHA (#6) (3-1) is typical of some of the older turf horses who trainer Mike Maker thrives with off the claim. Entered for $80,000 last September, the dark bay gelding promptly won the Sycamore Stakes (G3) at Keeneland going 1 1/2 miles on a turf course rated good” He came back here two months later with a dull effort from post 11 going 1 1/8 miles in the Fort Lauderdale Stakes (G2) but won the W.L. McKnight Stakes (G3) last out going 1 1/2 miles on a yielding turf. Zulu Alpha has trained well since then, and Irad Ortiz Jr. rides back on the six-year-old son of Street Cry. VILLAGE KING (#2) (8-1) is an intriguing runner from the Todd Pletcher stable. Two years ago, he was a Group 1 winner on turf going 10 furlongs in his native Argentina before running third in the classic Carlos Pellegrini Internacional (G1) at 1 1/2 miles on heavy turf. The bay son of Campanologist shipped to America and showed up nine months later at Churchill Downs, where he ran into Zulu Alpha, showed good speed early, but tired in the stretch. Next out at Belmont Park, Village King just missed going gate to wire in an allowance/optional claimer before winning the Red Smith Stakes, even after it was switched to the main track. With that win, Village King’s connections decided to see if he was a Pegasus World Cup (G1) worthy runner, so his next start was an even fourth on a very wet track in the Harlan’s Holiday Stakes (G3), where he raced evenly without making any impact. Back on the turf last out, he pressed the pace in the McKnight from post 10 before weakening. He should get a perfect trip while saving ground and I love his pedigree. Campanologist, his sire, won Group 1s in Germany and Italy, and is by Kingmambo out of a dam by Sadler’s Wells who is a three-quarter sister to 1996 champion turf horse and multiple Grade/Group 1 winner Singspiel. Johnny Velazquez, 32 percent riding for Pletcher the last two months, rides Village King back. In a race that looks chaotic, I am going to go with two trifecta box wheels. $.50 Trifecta: #3 with #2, #4, #6, #8, #9, #10, #11 with #2, #4, #6, #8, #9, #10, #11 = $63 $.50 Trifecta: #6 with #2, #3, #4, #8, #9, #10, #11 with #2, #3, #4, #8, #9, #10, #11 = $63 PHOTO: Village King and jockey Javier Castellano (inside) get the best Soglio under John Velazquez (outside) in the Red Smith Stakes at Aqueduct on November 17, 2018 (c) Adam Coglianese Photography/Joe Labozzetta/NYRA