by | 11.17.2010 | 12:47am

By Ray Paulick

UPDATE: Shortly after publication of the following article, an official with the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission told the Paulick Report that Violet Eyed Diva will be scratched. She will be prohibited from racing in Pennsylvania until stewards are satisfied with her racing fitness.

If the date was April 1 instead of July 1 you might think it was an April Fool's prank, but the appearance of Violet Eyed Diva in the Presque Isle Downs entries after nearly a seven-year layoff is a serious matter.

Owner-trainer Andrew Davidovich has entered the 10-year-old daughter of Swain out of the multiple Grade 1-winning Caerleon mare Kostroma (Beverly D, Yellow Ribbon Stakes) in a six-furlong $7,500 claiming race Thursday off a series of at least six workouts.

She'll be competing over the same track where her 4-year-old son, Justhitoverdrive (by Rahy) carried Davidovich's colors in a recent maiden race. Well, he didn't carry them very far. According to the Equibase chart, Justhitoverdrive never got into first gear, refusing to break from the starting gate at odds of 65-1. In his only previous start he finished eighth at 113-1 at Mountaineer Park.

Justhitoverdrive was the second of three foals produced by Violet Eyed Diva. After winning 3-of-12 starts and $79,553 for Davidovich in 2002 and 2003, she produced an unnamed colt by Point Given in 2005, Justhitoverdrive in 2006, and an unraced Johannesburg filly, Jo'burg Diva, in 2007. She was barren in 2008, produced a dead foal in 2009, and is back on the track in 2010.

Violet Eyed Diva was stakes placed in 2003, finishing third, beaten nearly 30 lengths in the three-horse Denise Rhudy Memorial Stakes at Delaware Park, originally scheduled on turf and moved to the main track. She also ran 10th in the Grade 3 Regret Stakes at Churchill Downs that same year. Her highest winning level was a $31,700 allowance race at Mountaineer Park, the track where she made her last start, on Aug. 23, 2003.

Thursday will be her first start in a claiming race and her appearance would end a lengthy and most unusual layoff.

Copyright © 2010, Blenheim Publishing , LLC

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