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Divining Rod set for Preakness

9m

Lael Stables' Divining Rod, winner of the Coolmore Lexington Stakes April 11 at Keeneland, remains on target to make his next start in the Preakness Stakes May 16 at Pimlico Race Course, trainer Arnaud Delacour said.

Based at the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland, Delacour told Maryland Jockey Club officials May 4 the 3-year-old by Tapit is doing well and is expected for the Preakness, which at this point is expected to draw the top three finishers in the May 2 Kentucky Derby: American Pharoah, Firing Line, and Dortmund.

"The horse is doing very well," Delacour said. "He breezed [May 2], and right now I am leaning toward the Preakness. I think he's great. I don't want to jinx myself, but at the moment he's doing very well. He has matured quite a bit and he understands more now what's going on."

Second by a neck in the Sam F. Davis Stakes and third in the Tampa Bay Derby this winter at Tampa Bay Downs, Divining Rod rated off the pace before drawing away to a three-length victory in the 1-1/16-mile Lexington, his first stakes win.

"The race in the Lexington was a very good confidence booster for him," Delacour said. "I think he put it all together, that he needed to relax and finish, and I think that really helped him."

Divining Rod has had two works at Fair Hill since the Lexington, both at five furlongs, including a breeze on the dirt track in 1:00 4/5 May 2.

"He started nice and easy, he was relaxed and he really kicked on at the end," Delacour said. "That's the kind of work that you like to see when you go to a race that's going longer. I was very pleased with it."

Delacour said Divining Rod will work once more May 9-10 at Fair Hill for the 1-3/16-mile Preakness.

"The first three horses [in the Derby] I would say are going to be very tough to take on, but the thing is they all had a pretty hard race," Delacour said. "They all had to fight for it. I didn't see any of them having to do it easy, so I hope that they're going to maybe be a little bit tired coming back in two weeks."

Meanwhile, Laurel Park-based owner/trainer Jose Corrales is leaning toward running Bodhisattva, by Student Council, in the Preakness. The colt won the Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico.

"If the possibility comes, I think I will probably run," Corrales said. "I will not run a horse just to run the horse. If I don't feel a horse can run in the first three, why run? That's the way I think."

Corrales entered and scratched Bodhisattva from the $75,000 Parx Derby at Parx Racing in Pennsylvania May 2 and instead breezed the horse seven furlongs in 1:29 at Laurel, his first work since winning the 1 1/16-mile Tesio by 1-1/2 lengths over Noteworthy Peach.

"I think this horse improved from that race," Corrales said. "He just keeps improving every time. I think now I've got him where I want him. The reason why I scratched him at Parx was because it was too early to run him back and I wanted to work him before I decide what's going to happen."