Won at 4METROPOLITAN H.
(gr. I , 8f , defeating Commentator, Lord Snowdon, Council Member, First Defence, Z Humor, Kiss the Kid, Premium Wine, Global Hunter (ARG) ).
Divine Park came through in the biggest of ways with a victory in the May 26 Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) at a mile at Belmont Park. The 4-year-old son of Chester House caught favorite Commentator in deep stretch to post a two-length win and move into the unofficial top spot among East Coast milers.
The triumph now gives Divine Park two of the yearÕs fastest Beyer Speed Figures. Owned by James J. Barry, Divine Park earned a 109 in the Met Mile and a 111 in winning the April 30 Westchester Handicap (gr. III), also at a mile, at Belmont. CommentatorÕs 119 Beyer earned in January at Gulfstream Park remains the highest.
The Met Mile came shortly after BarryÕs Genuine Devotion won the May 17 Upper Noosh Stakes at Belmont. Genuine Devotion and Divine Park were both stakes winners last year.
The Met Mile has ranked as a major event for decades. Divine Park has three winners of the historic race in the first four generations of his pedigree. His great-great-grandsire, Native Dancer, won the 1954 running by a neck over Straight Face after carrying 130 pounds to that rivalÕs 117 pounds. Native Dancer was voted Horse of the Year.
In Reality, who appears in Divine ParkÕs fourth generation, captured the 1968 Metropolitan. Often overlooked because of the extraordinary feats of contemporaries Damascus and Dr. Fager, In Reality carried top weight of 124 pounds in his Met Mile triumph.
Czaravich, sire of Divine ParkÕs second dam, CzarÕs Princess, finished in what appeared to be a dead heat with State Dinner in the 1980 Metropolitan. But after a lengthy look at the photo, he was declared the winner.
Barry, who lives in New Jersey, started going to the races with his father at Monmouth Park during summer vacations. He later turned his attention to owning horses, and like many, he raced horses in partnership before going out on his own. He currently has three horses in training.
Divine Park was bred by Catesby W. Clay and his Runnymede Farm, located near Paris, Ky. Barry purchased Divine Park through Charles Simon, agent, for $20,000 at the 2005 Keeneland September yearling sale from Runnymede, agent.
Runnymede no longer owns Divine ParkÕs dam, High in the Park. Consigned by Runnymede, agent, she was bought by EMFO Racing while barren for $3,500 at the 2007 Keeneland January horses of all ages sale.
This year, High in the Park produced a Van Nistelrooy filly in Kentucky for Emilie Fojan and Bona Terra Stud. High in the Park, who is kept at FojanÕs Bona Terra near Georgetown, Ky., is in foal to Medaglia dÕOro.
Deceased Chester House has sired 23 stakes winners. His eight added-money winners of 2008 also include graded winners Hostess, Phoenix Tower, Spring House, and Ventura. Chester House stood at Khalid AbdullahÕs Juddmonte Farms near Lexington prior to his death in June 2003.ÑD.S
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