- Divisidero Faces Arlington Handicap with Million in Mind
- Grade I Winner Daddys Lil Darling No Disgrace Entering Modesty
- Delacour Sends Two for Ride to the Million Program
DIVISIDERO FACES ARLINGTON HANDICAP WITH MILLION IN MIND
Since joining the barn of trainer Kelly Rubley in February, Gunpowder Farm’s Divisidero could not have progressed any better according to his conditioner, who hopes that such progress will be put on display in Saturday’s Grade III $100,000 Arlington Handicap.
Previously trained by William ‘Buff’ Bradley, the 6-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy has made two starts for Rubley – a close second behind Money Multiplier in the Grade II Monmouth Stakes on May 26 and a fourth-place effort in Churchill Downs’ Grade II Wise Dan on June 16. In both starts, Divisidero was only beaten three-quarters of a length.
“I think we have a good year ahead of us,” Rubley said. “He came to me in February with time off and he’s done nothing but move forward since then. We’ve just let him set the pace and we’re looking forward to seeing how he handles the mile-and-three-sixteenths.”
In the Wise Dan, Divisidero broke from the rail and saved ground along the inside while sitting off a slow pace. Coming around the far turn he had no racing room which forced jockey Jevian Toledo to go wide. When Divisidero was finally in the clear, he made a powerful move at the top of the stretch but was unable to catch eventual winner Mr. Misunderstood.
“He had a little traffic trouble on the backside, he tried squeezing in on the rail and it didn’t work,” Rubley said. “He was flying coming for home.”
As the only Grade I winner in the 12-horse field, Divisidero is the most accomplished horse in the race. He won back-to-back runnings of the Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs and is also the only millionaire in the race having acquired $1,187,750 in career earnings.
Divisidero was a contender in last year’s Grade I $1,000,000 Arlington Million and finished seventh beaten 2¼ lengths by Beach Patrol. A solid effort on Saturday could give Divisidero a shot at redemption in this year’s edition of the Million, which will be contested on August 11.
“We’re still looking at the Arlington Million,” Rubley said. “I thought it would be a great prep for both the horse and jockey to get a start at Arlington. They get along great. [Jevian’s] gotten to know him quite well. He’s a fun horse. He’s frisky and plays a lot.”
Divisidero drew post 11 for the Arlington Handicap and is the 2-1 morning line second choice. The top three finishers of the Arlington Handicap will receive entry with starting fees waived into the Arlington Million.
“I’m sure a lot of people would be disappointed with the post but I’m not. I think it suits his running style,” Rubley said.
Divisidero was bred in Kentucky by Hinkle Farms and is the fourth foal out of the Lemon Drop Kid mare Madame Du Lac. He was purchased for $250,000 by Margaux Farm from the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2015. Divisidero will look to give Kitten’s Joy his fourth North American graded stakes winner in 2018 in Saturday’s Arlington Handicap.
GRADE I WINNER DADDYS LIL DARLING NO DISGRACE ENTERING MODESTY
Normandy Farm’s Daddys Lil Darling has shipped all around the country during her 4-year-old campaign to face some of the best turf fillies in the division, but she’ll be the main the focus when she breaks from the outside in Saturday’s Grade III $100,000 Modesty Handicap as the 9-5 morning line favorite.
A baker’s dozen has been assembled for the 1 3/16 event on grass for fillies and mares and while Kenny McPeek would rather the daughter of Scat Daddy break elsewhere; he doesn’t believe such circumstances to be troublesome.
“I’m not thrilled with it but you can’t control it,” McPeek said of drawing post 13. “In her 2-year-old season she had a history of drawing bad but did fine. It’s a tricky post position but it’s a long race so she should be able to overcome it.”
A graded stakes winner on both dirt and turf, Daddys Lil Darling last found the winner’s circle when capping off her sophomore campaign with a victory in the Grade I American Oaks at Santa Anita Park on December 30 where she finished ahead of multiple Grade I winner New Money Honey. Other notable victories include a win in the 2016 Grade II Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill Downs and a victory in Kentucky Downs’ Dueling Grounds Oaks last September. Daddys Lil Darling also finished second in last year’s Grade I Kentucky Oaks behind eventual Eclipse Award champion 3-year-old filly Abel Tasman.
Her most recent effort took place in Belmont Park’s Grade II New York Handicap on June 8, where the field was widely spread out during most of its running. Daddys Lil Darling was 27 lengths off the pace, but was able to make up enough ground to finish third beaten 1¼ lengths behind the Chad Brown-trained pair of Fourstar Crook and Sistercharlie (IRE).
“The horse who finished second (Sistercharlie) came behind us and the horse that won was in front of us (Fourstar Crook),” McPeek said. “I’m not sure we had a huge excuse, but I thought it was a solid race. Every time when you place in those types it’s not a disgrace. We were hoping (the Modesty Handicap) would be an easier race. The draw is a bit concerning, but it is what it is.”
Daddys Lil Darling is a homebred out of the Houston mare Miss Hot Salsa, who produced 2015 Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Mongolian Saturday. The top three finishers in the Modesty Handicap receive entry with starting fees waived into the Grade I $600,000 Beverly D. on August 11, a “Win and You’re In” event for the $2,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
DELACOUR SENDS TWO FOR RIDE TO THE MILLION
Mid-Atlantic will be well represented this Saturday when Arnaud Delacour saddles a strong pair in two stakes events in the Ride To The Million, presented by Miller Lite on July 7 at Arlington International Racecourse.
In the $100,000 Hatoof Stakes Delacour sends out Madame Milan, a half-sister to 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, to tackle the 1 1/16-mile turf route for 3-year-old fillies. Owned and bred by Lael Stables, the daughter of Bernardini has never finished off the board in five career starts. She recently won a first level allowance race over the Delaware Park turf on June 16 and will make her stakes debut in the Hatoof.
“We took time with her, gave her time to mature,” Delacour said. “She physically was behind, and I feel like she’s coming along now. There are a lot of experienced horses in here, and it’s not an easy spot. It’s a good race and it is worth taking a shot to see where we fit with this type of company.”
Delacour also runs Canessar (FR) back in the Grade III $100,000 Stars and Stripes Handicap after a second-place effort behind Call To Mind in the Grade II Belmont Gold Cup on June 8. After being placed near the back of the pack by jockey Feargal Lynch, he began making his move closer to the front coming around the far turn. Shifting in between horses at the top of the stretch, Canessar was inching closer to the front but could not catch Call To Mind.
The 5-year-old gelded son of Kendargent began his career in his native France where he was a stakes winner at Chantilly last June. He was transferred to Delacour’s barn last summer and made his United States debut a winning one in the Laurel Turf Cup on September 16.
“One of the main reasons we run here is I think he’ll like the track,” Delacour said. “The wide turf will help him and I hope he’ll be able to show his best on Saturday. Canessar is an easy horse to deal with. One of the most important things with a horse like this is how to navigate the turns, especially in America. He liked the Belmont turns so hopefully he can mirror that performance on Saturday.”
Canessar is a half-brother to Candarliya (FR), a three-time group stakes winner in her native France.
Jockey Feargal Lynch is named aboard both of Delacour’s runners.