04/28/2014 12:39PM

Kentucky Derby runner General a Rod sold

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Barbara D. Livingston
General a Rod is now owned by Skychai Racing and Starlight Stables.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Skychai Racing and Starlight Stables have purchased Kentucky Derby contender General a Rod from his previous owner, J. Armando Rodriguez, the new ownership group announced on Monday.

General a Rod, runner-up in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth and the third-place finisher in the Grade 1 Florida Derby, will remain with trainer Mike Maker and be ridden by Joel Rosario in the Kentucky Derby, according to the new owners. He will wear the silks of James Shircliff, who is a partner in both Skychai and Starlight, in the Derby.

“I am proud of my involvement with both Skychai and Starlight Racing Partnerships,” said Shircliff. “I have been interested in acquiring this horse for some time and I’m thrilled we were finally able to come to terms with Mr. Rodriguez.”

Jack Wolf, whose Starlight Racing also owns a second Kentucky Derby candidate, Intense Holiday, will be the managing partner for General a Rod.

“Jim and I go back a long way,” said Wolf. “We owned claiming horses together back in the mid-80’s. Jim’s been talking to these people about General a Rod since January and we [Starlight] got involved six weeks ago or so.”

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

When asked about Starlight being represented by two horses in the Derby, Wolf said “you can’t have too many horses in the race when it comes to the Kentucky Derby. I’d like to have all 20.”

Maker was made aware of the sale on Monday.

“I’m a bit surprised, but I’ve been around the game long enough not to be surprised,” Maker said when informed of the owner change for General a Rod. “I haven’t been given any of the details of the arrangement just yet. Right now I’m just going to keep training this horse as I have been to run in the Derby on Saturday.”

General a Rod was scheduled to have his final work for the Derby at Churchill Downs on Tuesday.

– additional reporting by Byron King