Kentucky Derby fever could be impossible to resist for Lexington winner Divining Rod
Lael Stables’ homebred Divining Rod (Tapit) proved much the best in Saturday’s $250,000 Lexington Stakes (G3) at Keeneland, swinging out leaving the far turn and driving past Donworth (Tiznow) and Fame and Power (First Defence) to win going away by three lengths.
The Arnaud Delacour-trained colt possessed 10 points entering the 1 1/16-mile race, recording a non-threatening third to the mighty Carpe Diem (Giant’s Causeway) in the March 7 Tampa Bay Derby (G2), and picked up another 10 points for his first stakes victory.
His 20-point total could wind up being enough to make a 20-horse Kentucky Derby field, but connections indicated before the Lexington that they were unlikely to run, citing the 1 ¼-mile distance among their concerns.
But feelings could change after his Lexington performance.
"We'll see how he comes back and we'll make up our minds after that," Delacour said regarding the Kentucky Derby.
Kentucky Derby fever is a powerful thing, and 50-1 upsets by the likes of Mine That Bird (2009) and Giacomo (2005) in the last 10 years only add to the temptation. Divining Rod’s connections could decide that he deserves the chance if he exits the Lexington in good order.
Julien Leparoux picked up the mount on Divining Rod, who was overlooked as the 5-2 third betting choice, and the Kentucky-bred colt returned a $7.80 win mutuel after stopping the teletimer in 1:43.29.
The well-bred dark bay is by leading sire Tapit and out of the multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Precious Kitten, a half-sister to top sire Kitten’s Joy.
Donworth edged Fame and Power by a nose for second, and both runners could be under consideration for the second leg of the Triple Crown, the May 16 Preakness Stakes.