04/11/2015 6:19PM

Divining Rod takes Lexington; unlikely to run in Kentucky Derby

Email
Coady Photography
The 10 points Divining Rod earned for winning the Lexington Stakes might get him into the Kentucky Derby field, but his owner indicated the colt is unlikely to enter the May 2 race.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Divining Rod got a patient ride from Julien Leparoux before surging to victory Saturday in the 34th running of the Grade 3, $250,000 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland, possibly earning enough points to make the field for the Kentucky Derby – although that appears moot.

Divining Rod earned 10 points toward the May 2 Derby, giving him a total of 20 in the Churchill Downs system used to limit the field to 20 starters, although his owner said afterward he most likely will not run the colt even if a spot opens.

The Lael Stables of Roy and Gretchen Jackson bred and own Divining Rod.

:: ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays

“No, I don’t think so,” Roy Jackson said afterward when asked about the Derby, which Lael won in 2006 with its homebred, the great Barbaro. Twenty points is currently on or near the Derby bubble, depending on what transpires in the next couple of weeks.

Always in striking range while saving ground on both turns of the 1 1/16-mile Lexington, Divining Rod swung out for the drive and quickly put away a pair of dueling front-runners before finish three lengths ahead of them on the wire. Donworth nosed out Fame and Power for second, with Comfort another 1 3/4 lengths back in fourth in a field of seven 3-year-olds.

Divining Rod, a dark bay colt by the red-hot Tapit, returned $7.80 as second choice after finishing in 1:43.29 over a fast track.

Divining Rod “has become quite proficient,” said winning trainer Arnaud Delacour, a 40-year-old former assistant to Christophe Clement. He now has five career races, with his two previous starts, both at Tampa, resulting in a runner-up finish in the Sam F. Davis Stakes and a third behind Carpe Diem in the Tampa Bay Derby.

Before a meet-high crowd of 37,193, and on a bright, cool afternoon, Fame and Power, the 5-2 second choice, set the pace under Irad Ortiz Jr. while pushed along by Donworth, the 8-5 favorite. Leaving the final turn, those two were inseparable on the lead, but then Divining Rod swung out and darted past them with ease.

The $2 exacta (1-7) paid $25.80, the $1 trifecta (1-7-6) returned $40.90, and the 10-cent superfecta (1-7-6-2) was worth $10.58.

Lael also won the Lexington in 2006 with Showing Up, who wound up sixth behind stablemate Barbaro in the Derby.

It was the third Lexington triumph for Leparoux, following Derby Kitten in 2011 and Winning Cause in 2013.

The attendance was the third-highest in track history, behind 2012 Blue Grass Day (40,617) and 2014 Blue Grass Day (39,722).