With a strong late kick, Gunpowder Farms' Divisidero won the $250,000 American Turf Stakes (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs by three-quarters of a length in 1:41.59 for 1 1/16 miles over A Lot and World Approval (VIDEO). The victory was his first graded-stakes victory in his third lifetime start.
Divisidero was bred in Kentucky by Hinkle Farms, which sold the colt for $250,000 at the 2013 Keeneland September yearling sale to Margaux Farm as agent. Tom Keithley's Gunpowder Farms has been the owner of the colt since his first start.
Long shot Tuba set the pace in the American, leading the other 13 horses in the field through moderate fractions of :24.69, :48.69, and 1:12.49. Divisidero raced in the back of the pack ahead of only two other challengers. Coming out of the final turn, Amerman Racing Stables' A Lot moved from a stalking position and into the lead. The 3-year-old son of Tapit started moving away from the field as Divisidero and Hernandez went widest of all and found plenty of running room in mid-track and sailed past A Lot in the final sixteenth of a mile. World Approval was another 1 3/4 lengths back for third.
"We worried a little bit yesterday, because it looked like the turf course favored speed, but I told Rafael (Hernandez), 'Don't take him out of his game and let him run his race,' " Bradley said. "He's an awesome horse. He professional already and it's just his third race. It's unbelievable. The owners have been great, the Gunpowder Stables. We've come up with a plan to give this horse plenty of time and that's what's helped us."
"At the first turn, I lost a little ground, because I was pushed a little bit out, so my horse stayed there—he never took himself back or anything," Hermandez said. "At the three-eighths I started asking, he started picking up and just saving more ground. Turning for home, we got him to the lead and he did the rest."
Jockey John Velazquez, on A Lot, said his mount didn't realize he had been passed by the winner, because he had been distracted by the infield.
"He didn't pay attention. He kept looking at the infield," Velazquez said. "After the horse passed him—he was like two lengths in front of him—he started galloping out.''
Favorite Conquest Typhoon was never factor, pushed wide in the first turn, and stayed wide through the race. He finished 11th.
"Conquest Typhoon was just disappointing," said Mark Casse, who also trains World Approval. "He seemed a little flat and was carried out in both turns. (World Approval) ran good. The more he learns each race, the better he will get. And the farther he runs, he will like that too."
Divisidero paid $19.20, $9.20, and $6.80. A Lot paid $5.80 and $4.80, while World Approval paid $7.60. The $2 exacta was worth $133.80. The $2 trifecta paid $1,713.