Classic-placed Divining Rod eyeing mid-summer return
Edited Press Release
Lael Stables’ Grade 3-winning Divining Rod, third behind 2015 Triple Crown champion American Pharoah in the 140th Preakness Stakes (G1), is getting closer to his first race in nearly a year.
The four-year-old Tapit colt, unraced since a fifth-place finish in the Smarty Jones (G3) last August at Parx Racing, breezed three furlongs Wednesday at the Fair Hill Training Center in “something like 39 seconds,” trainer Arnaud Delacour said.
"He did great and came back good, so we’re very happy with that,” Delacour said. “He’s obviously very full of himself and wants to do more so that’s a good sign.”
A winner in his debut at Laurel Park in November 2014, Divining Rod captured the Lexington (G3) last year prior to his run in the Preakness. He went on to finish third by a head in the Ohio Derby and third by 1 1/2 lengths in the Indiana Derby (G2) heading into the Smarty Jones, exiting the race with some minor issues.
“We felt that that he didn’t really run his race, so he went for a checkup at Rood and Riddle in Kentucky with Dr. Bramlage,” Delacour explained. “He found a little, little thing that needed some time off, just wear and tear that you get when you run hard races, especially when you’re on the Triple Crown trail. It’s tough on the horses. There was a bunch of little stuff that needed to be addressed and he needed time off for that.”
Between his maiden victory and the Lexington, Divining Rod was third in an allowance/optional claimer, a quarter-length second in the Sam F. Davis (G3) and third in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) last winter, all at Tampa Bay Downs.
“He’s very consistent. He’s a neat horse. I’m pretty excited to bring him back to competition,” Delacour said.
“Also with age, he can be even better. He’s got the two-other-than condition, so I’ll probably try to bring him back in an allowance. There’s no point going into a hard race. It’s going to be almost a year off so we’ll find a good spot for him and take it from there.”
Delacour estimated that Divining Rod would be looking at a mid-summer return to the races.
“That would be about right, if everything goes well,” he said. “It’s not going to take him long to get back fit because he looks good. He’s the kind of horse that keeps his condition pretty good.
“It would make sense to think that six-to-eight weeks we’ll be pretty close to a race.”
Divining Rod photo courtesy of Keeneland/Coady Photography