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 3 $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' G2 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 1 winner in the 12-horse field, Divisidero is the most accomplished horse in the race. He won back-to-back runnings of the G1 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 G1 $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 Aug. 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.
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