With a strong late run down the center of a turf course rated good, Gunpowder Farms' Divisidero roared to victory in the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1T) May 6 at Churchill Downs. Watch Video
The final time for the 1 1/8-mile test was 1:52.42. Julien Leparoux was aboard for trainer Bill "Buff" Bradley.
Divisidero won last year's Woodford Reserve by a neck over World Approval. This year, World Approval was scratched.
Last early, Divisidero didn't really get moving until the horses were on the far turn and Leparoux opted to loop the field in order to stay in the clear.
“On this kind of track, you want your horse to be relaxed and make a nice run," the jockey said. "Because the pace was so slow, we all bunched up so we were not too far behind. When I came out (for my run), he kicked home super. He ran a really big race today.”
On the far turn, Beach Patrol was tracked by Enterprising. with Can'thelpbeliving to their outside and Conquest Panthera near the hedge. Turning for home Beach Patrol put away Enterprising and was clear, but Divisidero was rolling. The mile went in 1:40.25, and a final eighth of a mile went in a quick :12.17 considering the conditions.
"We were far back early, but that's how the horse runs," Bradley said. "Julien said there wasn't much pace in there, and he was correct, but I didn't want to take the horse out of his race. We know he likes to finish, even on a slow pace. I just told Julien, 'You may just have to make your run earlier.' Julien is a great jockey, so I don't have to tell him a whole lot."
Divisidero was winless in three starts this year. A closing third in Gulfstream Park's Ft. Lauderdale Stakes (G2T) was followed by a sixth-place effort in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1T). A trip at Keeneland in a conditioned allowance race yielded a nose defeat to Projected, but set the table perfectly for the Woodford repeat.
"That was our plan, to get the Keeneland race in, and this was our goal," Bradley said. "It's always nice to win at Keeneland, but we were happy with the outcome and how Julien felt about the horse. Derby Day has really been good to us. We're always happy to win on Derby Day before the biggest crowds."
Divisidero is now three-for-three over the Churchill turf. As a 3-year-old he won the American Turf Stakes (G2T) on Derby weekend. He has a 5-2-3 career mark from 13 starts. The victory put him over the seven-figure mark in earnings, giving him a bankroll of $1,056,550.
Beach Patrol paid $4.40 and $3.20, and Oscar Nominated returned $5.80 to show. Kasaqui came in fourth, followed by Bal a Bali , Enterprising, Ballagh Rocks, Conquest Panthera, Kaigun, Flatlined, and Can'thelpbelieving.