08/12/2017 6:42PM

Divining Rod ends lengthy layoff with easy Polynesian win

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Jim McCue
Divining Rod's next start may be the Kelso at Belmont Park on Sept. 23.

Divining Rod returned sharp from an eight-month layoff with an easy 6 1/4-length win in the $75,000 Polynesian Stakes at Laurel Park on Saturday.

The seven-furlong Polynesian was the shortest race of Divining Rod's 14-race career, but he showed good speed under jockey Daniel Centeno to track pacesetting longshot Royal Squeeze in the five-horse field. Divining Rod readily moved up outside Royal Squeeze on the far turn, then pulled off in the stretch under only minimal urging.

Royal Squeeze set fractions of 23.44 and 47.06 over the muddy, sealed track before being overtaken by the winner. Divining Rod covered six furlongs in 1:10.43, then came home in 11.64 seconds en route to a final time of 1:22.07.

"At the three-eighths pole he was dragging me to the front," Centeno said.

Vorticity finished second, 2 1/4 lengths ahead of third-place Rockinn on Bye.

Trained by Arnaud Delacour and owned and bred by the Lael Stables of Roy and Gretchen Jackson, Divining Rod paid $3 to win.

Divining Rod could start next in the Grade 2, $300,000 Kelso, a mile race at Belmont Park on Sept. 23, according to Delacour. But he left the door open for Divining Rod to wheel back on two weeks' rest in the Grade 1 Forgeo, a seven-furlong race at Saratoga on Aug. 26, if the Polynesian didn't take anything out of him.

Divining Rod raced only four times last year, winning two optional-claiming races at Parx Racing. He concluded his season by finishing second by a head to Connect in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct.

"I think he is a stronger horse this year," Delacour said.

As a 3-year-old in 2015, Divining Rod won the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland.

Divining Rod's 5-year-old debut was pushed back by a minor ankle problem in January that required 60 days of farm rest.