As recently as this past Monday, ‘TDN Rising Star‘ Diversify (Bellamy Road) was no sure thing to make the gate for Saturday’s GI Whitney S., a ‘Win and You’re In’ qualifier for the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in November. But the combination of a lightning-fast five-furlong breeze July 29 and early-week bloodwork that came back clean green-lighted a start, and the 5-year-old took care of the rest, defeating fellow New York-bred Mind Your Biscuits (Posse) by 3 1/2 front-running lengths.
“He did too well not to run here,” winning trainer Rick Violette, Jr. explained. “Everything he did said run. He ate well, he shipped up here well, he breezed well last Sunday and came out of it [breeze] good, his blood work came back well, so [I said], ‘OK, stupid, stop being a chicken and run him.'”
That looks a shrewd choice in retrospect.
Drawn gate six and off at a generous mutuel, Diversify caught a flyer from the stalls and was guided down towards the inside as Dalmore (Colonel John), who looked likeliest to cause the favorite the most trouble on the engine, could not match motors and was forced to lay second. That he couldn’t go with Diversify early on was scarcely surprising–the opening quarter was up in a slick :23.22 and the half in :46.50–over a strip rendered sloppy by a sudden electrical and rain storm that delayed the start of the Whitney by three-quarters of an hour. Tapwrit (Tapit), the 2017 GI Belmont S. winner, also gave chase inside of Backyard Heaven (Tizway) as Mind Your Biscuits–trying a distance farther than a mile for the first time in the first two-turn race of his career–settled midfield and along the inside for Joel Rosario.
Allowed to bowl along at his own speed, Diversify began to widen on the final turn and had the race salted away, for all intents and purposes, even as Mind Your Biscuits was finding his best stride to loom the only ‘danger’ as they entered the stretch. But as is his wont, Diversify kept finding on the engine and proved not for reeling in, as Mind Your Biscuits–in receipt of six pounds from the winner–outlasted Discreet Lover (Repent) for second in what is believed to be the first-ever NY-bred exacta in a Grade I race.
“I wanted to be on the lead. He did everything right for me. He was ready,” said Irad Ortiz, Jr. “I knew somebody was going to be coming, no matter what. It’s a Grade I, and there’s nice horses who want to win the race. He proved he could keep going. Only nice horses can do that. He was steady; he wasn’t dying at the end, he’d keep trying. He did it the right way.”
Chad Summers, trainer of Mind Your Biscuits, was pleased with the effort and is inclined to stretch out the 5-year-old G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen hero and GI Met Mile runner-up over even more ground.
“At this point we’ll see how he comes out of it. I thought he galloped out of it really good,” he said. “We’ll talk to Joel and the connections, but I see no reason not to go on, to kind of move on. Obviously, you have to get one more win and you’re in, to qualify and get in, but I think he showed up with another big effort here today, so I see no reason not to move forward.”
The double-digit winner of the state-bred restricted Evan Shipman S. at last year’s meeting, Diversify was given a crack at the big boys in the GI Jockey Club Gold Cup and defeated Keen Ice (Curlin) by a length. Connections considered, but ultimately decided to pass the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic in favor of the GI Clark H., but he faltered after setting the pace to finish fourth. The bay returned to action with a flop in the GII Charles Town Classic in April, but a confidence-restoring victory in the May 28 Commentator S.–named for the New York-bred winner of the 2005 and 2008 Whitney–led to a towering 6 1/2-length defeat of Justify’s half-brother The Lieutenant (Street Sense) in the GII Suburban H. when last seen downstate July 7.
A $150,000 graduate of the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-Bred Sale, Diversify was hammered down for $210,000 from the WinStar horses of racing age draft at Keeneland November in 2016 after winning his first two starts by 10 lengths combined. The lone stakes performer for his dam, Diversify is out of a half-sister to Lady Digby (Grand Slam), who did her best running on the grass, with a victory in the GIII All Along S. at Colonial Downs. Third dam Pete’s Heiress, a half-sister to GSW Private Treasure, was responsible for Canadian MSP Power Phil (Philanthropist). Dam of the Kentucky-bred 3-year-old filly Charitable Link (Data Link), Rule One produced a New York-bred colt by More Than Ready this past Feb. 16. She was most recently bred to Tapit.
WHITNEY S.-GI, $1,200,000, Saratoga, 8-4, 3yo/up, 1 1/8m, 1:49.62, sy.
1–DIVERSIFY, 124, g, 5, by Bellamy Road
1st Dam: Rule One, by Street Cry (Ire)
2nd Dam: Compete, by El Prado (Ire)
3rd Dam: Pete’s Heiress, by Peteski
‘TDN Rising Star’ ($150,000 Ylg ’14 SARAUG; $210,000 3yo ’16
KEENOV). O-Lauren & Ralph M. Evans; B-Fred W. Hertrich III &
John D. Fielding (NY); T-Richard A. Violette, Jr.; J-Irad Ortiz, Jr.
$650,000. Lifetime Record: 15-10-2-0, $1,959,425. Werk Nick
Rating: B+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. 2–Mind Your Biscuits, 118, h, 5, Posse–Jazzmane, by Toccet.
($47,000 Ylg ’14 KEEJAN; $47,000 RNA Ylg ’14 SARAUG;
$47,000 RNA 2yo ’15 OBSAPR). O-Shadai Farm, J Stables LLC,
Head of Plains Partners LLC, Summers, M. Scott, Daniel & Chad
Summers & Michael E. Kisber; B-Jumping Jack Racing LLC (NY);
T-Chad Summers. $220,000. 3–Discreet Lover, 119, h, 5, Repent–Discreet Chat, by Discreet
Cat. ($14,000 RNA Ylg ’14 OBSAUG; $10,000 2yo ’15 EASMAY).
O/T-Uriah St. Lewis; B-Woodford Thoroughbreds, LLC. (FL).
$120,000. Margins: 3HF, HF, 6 1/4. Odds: 1.60, 3.05, 38.75.
Also Ran: Tapwrit, Good Samaritan, McCraken, Backyard Heaven, Dalmore. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.