Divisidero won the American Turf (gr. IIT).

Divisidero won the American Turf (gr. IIT).

Anne M. Eberhardt

New Year, New Rider for Divisidero

Edgar Prado replaces injured Rafael Hernandez in Canadian Turf.

Gunpowder Farm's Divisidero will have a new rider when the 4-year-old son of Kitten's Joy makes his first start since last July in the $150,000 Canadian Turf (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park Feb. 27.

Rafael Hernandez, who had ridden the colt in all five career starts, suffered injuries in a Gulfstream spill Feb. 20 that will keep him sidelined for an estimated minimum of six weeks. Hernandez suffered a broken collarbone and several broken ribs in the spill that also injured and sidelined Joel Rosario.

In Hernandez's absence, trainer Buff Bradley has picked up Hall of Fame rider Edgar Prado for Saturday's race, at a mile on turf.

"I feel bad for him; he's the only one who has ridden this horse," Bradley said of Hernandez.

Divisidero has won three of five starts, including the American Turf Stakes (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs on the 2015 Kentucky Derby Day card, and the Pennine Ridge Stakes at Belmont Park. He also ran third in Gulfstream's Palm Beach Stakes (gr. IIIT) last March.

The colt, a $250,000 purchase from breeder Hinkle Farms consignment to the 2013 Keeneland September yearling sale, was a scintillating winner in his career debut, rallying from 11th at the top of the stretch to just get up at the end of the 1 1/16th-mile turf test at Gulfstream.

Bradley said that following a disappointing seventh in the Belmont Derby Initational (gr. IT) last July 4, the connections decided that although Divisidero was not injured he needed a break. Since there were few late-year races for 3-year-olds on grass, they chose to keep him out of competition until his 4-year-old season.

"It was not injury-related but we just felt like he was not 100%,"  Bradley said. "Physically he got bigger and filled out in the right places. I say that if you can give a horse a break, you should."

Divisidero has been training steadily over Gulfstream's main track, including a four-furlong :47.87 breeze Feb. 20, in preparation for his return.

Bradley said the Canadian Turf was selected for Divisidero's comeback primarily because of how well he has run over the turf course at Gulfstream.