It’s hard to remember the runner-ups to American Pharoah because that particular champion captured our attention so vividly. Divining Rod is one of those horses, having placed third at the Preakness Stakes in 2015. Overall, the now four-year old colt for Laei Stable is 2-1-5 in 9 attempts. His last outing was the only time he placed off the proverbial podium.
That race was the Smarty Jones, a grade-three stakes challenge which runs in late August at Prax in Pennsylvania. Consistency is key, especially for horse players who are looking for horses to build exotic bets around, or just secure a safe show bet. For most of last year, Divining Rod was that type of horse, but he came out of the Smarty Jones with some lingering problems.
Trainer Arnoud Delacour admitted that Divining Rod had endured some wear and tear over the course of a gruelling 2015 schedule that saw him take part in seven races and that workload caught up to him by the end of last summer. “We felt that he didn’t really run his race, so he went for a checkup at Rood and Riddle (Equine Hospital) in Kentucky with Dr. Bramlage. He found a little, little thing that needed some time off, just wear and tear that you get when you run hard races, especially when you’re on the Triple Crown trail. It’s tough on the horses,” Delacour noted. “There was a bunch of little stuff that needed to be addressed and he needed time off for that.”
It’s been nearly a year since Divining Rod has last seen the track and Delacour was quick to point out that he is as consistent as the days of the week. That’s why the trainer, along with his connections and horse palyers, are anticipating his return. “He’s very consistent. He’s a neat horse. I’m pretty excited to bring him back to competition. Also with age, he can be even better,” Delacour said. “He’s got the two-other-than condition, so I’ll probably try to bring him back in an allowance. There’s no point going into a hard race. It’s going to be almost a year off so we’ll find a good spot for him and take it from there.”
According to Delcaour, Divining Rod is aiming for a return during the summer and will likely aim towards stakes races in the fall. How hard he runs the four-year old son of Tapit remains to be seen, but it will be great to have this competitor back in action.