12/27/2014 6:26PM

Divine Oath holds on to win W.L. McKnight Handicap

Leslie Martin
Divine Oath wins the W.L. McKnight Handicap by a half-length Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Divine Oath, the only 3-year-old in the field, withstood a late surge from the 45-1 Fixador to cap off a stellar campaign with a half-length triumph in the $100,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap, the third and final Grade 3 stakes on Saturday’s 10-race program at Gulfstream Park.

Under a well-judged ride by Javier Castellano, Divine Oath rallied three wide entering the stretch for the final time, ran down the tiring Margano, edged clear, then held safe Fixador to register his third Grade 3 victory of the season. Fixador, a Group 1 winner in his native Brazil and racing on Lasix for the first time after finishing far back in his U.S. debut, finished willingly and was steadily gaining on the winner at the end. Manchurian High closed well down the center of the course after racing widest into the stretch to be third.

Divine Oath, by Broken Bow, is trained by Todd Pletcher for Lets Go Stable. Unraced at 2, he won 5 of 8 starts in 2014, including both the Grade 3 American Derby and Kent Stakes.

Divine Oath covered 12 furlongs in 2:34.25 over the “good” turf course and paid $10.80.

“It set up perfect for him,” said Castellano. “I had the 13 post, but the way the race developed he was able to save ground, and he responded very well the last part. Thirteen was a lucky number for him today.”