Lexington Stakes winner Divining Rod remains on target for the Preakness, trainer Arnaud Delacour said Monday.
Divining Rod has been based at Fair Hill Training Center since winning at Keeneland.
“The horse is doing very well. He breezed on Saturday, and right now I am leaning toward the Preakness,” Delacour said. “I think he’s great. I don’t want to jinx myself, but at the moment he’s doing very well. He has matured quite a bit and he understands more now what’s going on.”
Second by a neck in the Sam F. Davis Stakes and third in the Tampa Bay Derby, Divining Rod rated off the pace before drawing away to a three-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile Lexington, his first stakes win.
“The race in the Lexington was a very good confidence booster for him,” Delacour said. “I think he put it all together, that he needed to relax and finish, and I think that really helped him.
Divining Rod has had two works at Fair Hill since the Lexington, both five furlongs, including a breeze over the dirt track in 1:00.80 (2/18) on Derby day.
“He started nice and easy, he was relaxed and he really kicked on at the end,” Delacour said. “That’s the kind of work that you like to see when you go to a race that’s going longer. I was very pleased with it.”
Delacour said Divining Rod will work once more this weekend at Fair Hill for the 1 3/16-mile Preakness, which could draw as many as six horses entered in the Derby.
Julien Leparoux rode Divining Rod in the Lexington. In the Kentucky Derby, Leparoux was aboard Danzig Moon, one of the horses under Preakness consideration.
“The first three horses I would say are going to be very tough to take on, but the thing is they all had a pretty hard race,” Delacour said. “They all had to fight for it. I didn’t see any of them having to do it easy, so I hope that they’re going to maybe be a little bit tired coming back in two weeks.”
Laurel Park based owner-trainer Jose Corrales has not ruled out a possible start in the Preakness for Federico Tesio winner Bodhisattva.
Bred in California, Bodhisattva is a sophomore son of multiple graded stakes winner Student Council, whose grade 1 wins include the 2008 Pimlico Special, also run at the Preakness distance.
“If the possibility comes, I think I will probably run,” Corrales said Monday. “I will not run a horse just to run the horse. If I don’t feel a horse can run in the first three, why run? That’s the way I think.I think this horse improved from that race. He just keeps improving every time. I think now I’ve got him where I want him. The reason why I scratched him at Parx was because it was too early to run him back and I wanted to work him before I decide what’s going to happen.
Corrales entered and scratched Bodhisattva from the $75,000 Parx Derby on May 2 and instead breezed the horse seven furlongs in 1:29 at Laurel, his first work since winning the 1 1/16-mile Tesio by 1 1/2 length over Noteworthy Peach.
“He worked the way I wanted to,” he said. “I put another horse at the half-mile pole and he was coming from behind to catch up with the other horse, a fresh horse, from the half-mile pole and he beat the other horse easy. I think he’s 90 percent of where I want him. If he had run in the stakes the other day he would have been 80 percent. I think he’s still going to get better.”
Bred by Andy Stronach, son of The Stronach Group founder and chairman Frank Stronach, Bodhisattva was among the early nominations to the Triple Crown. He ran second in the Private Terms in March at Laurel and fifth in the Remsen last fall at Aqueduct.
“You start nominating a horse for the Triple Crown, sometimes just to see what could happen, like winning the lottery. Pretty soon you hit a number and then you hit another number and maybe you win the lottery,” Corrales said. “You dream, and people just wish to be in those kinds of races once. They pay a lot of money to get the chance to be in one of those races one day. I have a chance. You never know. Even if he loses, you still go on with life.”
Edited Maryland Jockey Club release