Homebred Divining Rod Heads to Baltimore for Preakness Stakes
Homebred Divining Rod Heads to Baltimore for Preakness Stakes: Lael Stables has experienced some significant success in its years of existence. In 2006, Barbaro captured the hearts of millions with his Kentucky Derby win that promised he would be a strong Triple Crown threat. However, the bay colt by Dynaformer would never finish the second jewel, fracturing his leg in the run for the first turn. Lael Stables bred multiple full brothers to Barbaro, including Lentenor, Nicanor, and Marango. All three were and are strong turf horses, just like their brother. Lael Stables also has Ageless, a strong turf sprinter who finished fourth by less than a length in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint last fall. Lael Stables also previously campaigned Precious Kitten, a half-sister to top stallion Kitten’s Joy bred by Ken and Sarah Ramsey.
This year, Lael Stables is taking another shot at the Preakness Stakes with their Tapit colt Divining Rod. Divining Rod won the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (GIII) in April. The colt could have gotten into the Kentucky Derby, but connections instead opted to forego a run for the roses, a decision that could prove valuable. History shows that horses who run back in the Kentucky Derby after the Lexington seem to come in a bit flat, but the Lexington has proven to be a strong prep for the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
Divining Rod is one of only a few fresh horses who will take on the returning horses from the Kentucky Derby, including winner American Pharoah. Firing Line and Dortmund are expected to return to challenge their California foe as well. Divining Rod is a homebred for the Jacksons of Lael Stables and is out of the Catienus mare Precious Kitten. Catienus hasn’t experienced a high level of success like other stallions, but he did sire multiple graded stakes winner Precious Kitten and Talent Search, now a decent sire himself. Precious Kitten was a strong turf mare and even competed in the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Mile in which she finished fourth behind Goldikova (GB). She also won stakes like the Grade I Gamely Stakes, Grade I Matriarch Stakes, and the Grade III Gallorette Handicap, among other graded stakes races.
Divining Rod is among the multiple top caliber horses that Tapit has sired. Just last spring, Tapit sired Kentucky Oaks winner Untapable and Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist. While there needs to be a near-perfect nicking for Tapit offspring to achieve classic distances, Divining Rod seems to enjoy route races over the dirt. Tapit is currently standing at Gainesway Farm in Kentucky for a stud fee of $300,000. Tapit has also sired multiple graded stakes horses such as Tapizar, Joyful Victory, Stardom Bound, and Careless Jewel. He also has current top runners in Race Day, Frosted, Constitution, and Ring Weekend.
The Preakness is the next stop for Divining Rod as his connections confirmed they would start their colt in the race following his final workout at Fair Hill. His last recorded work was on May 2 in which he went five furlongs in 1:00.8, the second fastest of eighteen works at that distance. Although Divining Rod could have competed in the Kentucky Derby, the Jacksons and Delacour believed that it was not in their horse’s best interest.
“We weren’t sure we had enough points,” Delacour said. “We were on the bubble, and it’s very hard to train a horse to a race like the Derby not knowing if you’re going to get in. That puts some pressure on. Also, we would have been coming back in three weeks after a good effort in the Lexington and shipping. We thought that maybe it was coming back a little bit too quick. And also, the Jacksons saw statistics that showed horses that won the Lexington and came back in the Derby ran a little flat.”
However, the Lexington has worked as a springboard for horses in the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Horses such as Risen Star, Touch Gold, and Charismatic all reeled off a Triple Crown win or two after winning the Lexington Stakes. If Divining Rod could do the same, emotions would be sky high on Preakness and even Belmont day if he were to come back three weeks later in New York.
Delacour believes his horse is heading in the right direction after his win in the Lexington. He does realize that the Derby and the horses in the field are all a part of a very tough group of sophomores, however.
“It’s a tough bunch of horses,” Delacour said. “Going into the Derby everyone was talking about how good of a crop it was. I still feel the same way. The only thing is: I think everybody ran pretty hard, so you never know how they are going to come back in two weeks. We’ll see, but they are definitely tough horses to take on.”
Delacour also realized that after two tough losses to horses such as Ocean Knight and Carpe Diem, the Lexington Stakes was an easy spot for the horse to gain some much-needed confidence saying, “The race in the Lexington was a very good confidence booster for him. I think he put it all together; that he needed to relax and finish, and I think that really helped him.”
If Divining Rod could defeat American Pharoah, would that further confuse the fans and handicappers or relieve some confusion regarding the talent of this bunch of three-year-olds?
The 140th running of the Preakness Stakes will take place on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. A live stream of the race will be available at Preakness.com.
Preakness Stakes 2015 Post Positions & Odds
Race 13 6:18 pm ET
1 American Pharoah 4-5 Espinoza/Baffert
2 Dortmund 7-2 Garcia/Baffert
3 Mr. Z 20-1 Nakatani/Lukas
4 Danzig Moon 15-1 Leparoux/Casse
5 Tale of Verve 30-1 Rosario/Stewart
6 Bodhisatttva 20-1 McCarthy/Corrales
7 Divining Rod 12-1 Castellano/Delacour
8 Firing Line 4-1 Stevens/Callaghan
Preakness Stakes 2015: Schedule, Post Time, Contenders
Black-Eyed Susan Day 2015: Fast Fillies & Red Hot Fashion
Preakness Stakes: People’s Race & People’s Party
Homebred Divining Rod Heads to Baltimore for Preakness Stakes
Defending American Pharoah’s Derby Win
Preakness Travel Tips: Top Five Baltimore Dive Bars
Tale of Verve Needs Pace in Preakness Stakes
Post Favors Keen Pauline in Black-Eyed Susan Stakes