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Pimlico News & Notes
Lexington Winner Divining Rod Eyeing Preakness
Ageless Likely to Defend Title in The Very One
Musket Man Colt Entered in Friday Maiden Race
BALTIMORE, MD.,04/15/15 --- Lael Stables’ Divining Rod, a three-length winner of the Lexington (G3) April 11 at Keeneland, is being pointed to the $1.5 million Preakness (G1), the second jewel of the Triple Crown May 16 at Pimlico Race Course.
It would be the first Preakness starter for trainer Arnaud Delacour, who is gearing up for his return to the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md. after spending the winter in Florida.
“Yes, I’m thinking of the Preakness,” Delacour said. “The timing seems right. It’s five weeks after the Lexington. We had the Preakness in mind before we entered in the Lexington, hoping he would step up to that caliber of horses. His win in the Lexington was very encouraging.”
A sophomore son of Grade 1 winner Tapit, Divining Rod was beaten a neck in the Sam F. Davis (G3) Jan. 31 and ran a troubled third in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) March 7 before his breakthrough victory at Keeneland. Under jockey Julien Leparoux, he tracked the early pace before swinging outside and finishing full of run in 1:43.29 for 1 1/16 miles.
“I was very pleased because he really did it the right way,” Delacour said. “He took back a little bit, just relaxed there and came with a big run in the stretch, so that was pretty exciting. He came back very well from it.”
AGELESS LIKELY TO DEFEND TITLE IN THE VERY ONE
The $100,000 The Very One is a likely landing spot for Divining Rod’s stablemate Ageless, a 6-year-old mare also owned by Lael Stables. The five-furlong turf sprint is one of seven stakes on the Preakness undercard.
Ageless captured last year’s The Very One by three-quarters of a length as the favorite in 58.91 seconds, parlaying her victory into a half-length triumph in the Royal North (G3) at Woodbine in her subsequent start. She capped the year finishing fourth by less than a length in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at odds of 36-1.
“The program for fillies sprinting on the turf is limited. It is a good program, but it’s pretty much the same races,” Delacour said. “At the moment, I am thinking about The Very One for her. Hopefully, we’ll be there on Preakness weekend.”
Ageless has been first, second or third in 15 of 18 lifetime starts with eight wins and nearly $490,000 in purse earnings. She was second in her 2015 debut, the 5 ½-furlong Giants Causeway on the Lexington program, coming 4 ½ months following the Breeders’ Cup.
“This filly is a very consistent filly. She always runs well, no matter what the outcome is,” Delacour said. “She is amazing. I wasn’t really afraid of the layoff because the last time we gave her a break, she won right off the layoff. I knew she could be ready for that kind of race.”
MUSKET MAN COLD ENTERED IN FRIDAY MAIDEN RACE
Trainer Derek Ryan enjoyed the biggest success of his career with Musket Man, a multiple graded stakes winner that ran third in both the 2009 Kentucky Derby and Preakness and earned more than $1.2 million from 16 starts, only two of them worse than third.
On Friday Ryan returns to Old Hilltop with Iamahandsome Man, a 3-year-old son of Musket Man who will be making his second lifetime start in the fourth race, a $40,000 maiden special weight going six furlongs on the main track.
“He looks like his twin. When we bought him, he came with the name and everything,” Ryan said. “At least he’s made the races. At one stage, I didn’t think he was going to make it so I can’t complain.”
Iamahandsome Man nearly made his debut last fall in New York but was sidelined by a shin injury and went unraced at two. He joined Ryan’s string in Florida over the winter but was delayed again after developing an allergic reaction from a spider bite.
“He was the best 2-year-old I had when I came down here,” Ryan said. “The week before he was going to run he got bit by a spider on his hock and was in the clinic for two months. He’s still got a big hock. I’d never seen anything like that, but the vets here said they’ve had a few of them. There was no cut or anything, but his hock blew up like a balloon."
Iamahandsome Man was finally unveiled March 28 at Tampa Bay Downs and wound up fourth of 10, beaten five lengths. He will break from post 5 of nine Friday under jockey Victor Carrasco.
“He came back to me in the middle of February, had three works and I ran him because I wanted to get a race into him,” Ryan said. “He came into his last race way short, but he didn’t run bad actually. He ran fourth and the race came up pretty salty. Now he’s fit and ready to roll. I’m hoping he turns out to be all right after all. I was high on him all along.”