Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club

Divining Rod to Stand at Country Life Farm in Maryland

Son of Tapit is a grade 1-placed, graded stakes winner of more than $882,000.

Divining Rod , a 5-year-old graded-stakes-winning son of Tapit , has been retired from racing and will enter stud at Country Life Farm near Bel Air, Md. He will stand for $5,000, live foal guarantee, for a partnership that includes Country Life Farm, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, and Gainesway.

Raced as a homebred for the Jacksons in the name of their Lael Stables, Divining Rod earned $882,604 in four years, which included a third-place finish in 2015 to American Pharoah  in the Xpressbet.com Preakness Stakes (G1), and last year he lost by a head to Connect  in the Cigar Mile Handicap (G1). 

"Divining Rod was one of my best horses, so athletic and talented," said trainer Arnaud Delacour. "He was very much like Tapit, in that he was a top-class competitor who wanted to do things his own way. If you look at the stretch run of his Cigar Mile, he was toying with Connect, and it cost him the race. He galloped out in front, thinking he was the winner."

This year Divining Rod wired the field by 6 1/4 lengths in the $100,000 Polynesian Stakes at Laurel Park, and then ran second to recent Cigar Mile Handicap winner Sharp Azteca in the Sept. 23 Kelso Handicap (G2). Favored in the Oct. 28 Bold Ruler Handicap (G3), Divining Rod came out of the race with a sprained ankle. Sent to WinStar Farm in Kentucky for rehabilitation, he is expected to ship to Country Life Farm within the week.

Divining Rod retires with a record of 5-4-5 from 17 starts.

"Divining Rod gave us many thrills at the track, especially when he almost won the Cigar Mile," said Gretchen Jackson. "With his physical, pedigree, and performance on the track, we believe in him as a stallion, and will support him in the breeding shed, as well as in the sales ring."

Divining Rod is out of multiple grade 1 winner Precious Kitten, a half sister to leading turf sire Kitten's Joy . Country Life Farm co-owner Mike Pons lauded her as the "kind who can produce a leading sire."

"This is a top recruit for the vibrant Maryland breeding scene," said Country Life's Josh Pons. "He lost a grade 1 by a head-bob. He placed in a classic to a Triple Crown winner. He ran a 105 Beyer and a 1 Ragozin in the Cigar, huge numbers, in a stallion-making mile race. All the partners are supporting him at stud, and we are breeding at least a dozen of our own. And he's modestly priced for access for our regional breeders."