Diversify goes all the way in the Jockey Club Gold Cup

October 07, 2017 04:29pm

Four-year old Diversify made his graded stakes debut a winning one, taking the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup field wire-to-wire.

Breaking from his rail post, Diversify was the quickest into stride, followed by Rally Cry and lightly raced Pavel. Highland Sky took up fourth with Destin in fifth. Late running Keen Ice and Good Samaritan trailed the field.

Diversify put up the opening quarter in a slow :24.17 but quickened in the second quarter, putting up the half in :47.74. He was then clocked in 1:11.42 for the first three-quarters of the 99th running of the historic race.

In the far turn, Destin and Keen Ice both put in their bids for the lead. Destin’s rally ultimately fizzled, but Keen Ice and Pavel, who’d been racing in third, were full of run and racing stride-for-stride. Try as they might, however, neither could run down the loose-on-the-lead Diversify. Keen Ice got his nose in front of Pavel’s to get the place with Good Samaritan rounding out the superfecta.

Destin stuck around for fifth with Rally Cry sixth and Highland Sky seventh and last.

Diversify finished up the mile-and-a-quarter race in 2:00.96 with a winning margin of a length. He paid $9.80, $4.40, and $3.40 for winning and headed a $12.90 one dollar exacta, $25.25 fifty-cent trifecta, and $13.50 ten-cent superfecta.

"We couldn't have dreamed of a better scenario,” said winning trainer Rick Violette. “The first quarter, going in twenty four [seconds] was ideal. He's done nothing but get better from the early summer until now. He's always been a nice horse, but he's certainly jumped into the major leagues here today. He [Keen Ice] might've moved a little earlier than he wanted to because we were always loose on the lead. The pace certainly made the race for us. My only instructions to Irad was to ride him like he rode him in Saratoga.”

Maturity played a factor in Diversify’s victory according to winning rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. "He's a good horse and he's improving. He's growing up and he was that good today,” Ortiz, Jr. stated. “He was ready to run today. He was challenged and responded. Before, he used to play a little bit and would wait for horses. He doesn't do that as much anymore, so he's getting better."

By Bellamy Road and out of the Street Cry (IRE) mare Rule One, Diversify is a New York-bred owned by Lauren Evans and Ralph M. Evans. The gelding was bred by Fred W. Hertrick III and John D. Fielding. The Evans picked up Diversify for $210,000 out of the 2016 Keeneland November Sale. He’s now 10: 7-2-0 with total purse earnings of $775,425 after picking up the lion’s share of today’s $750,000 purse.

As for beaten favorite Keen Ice, trainer Todd Pletcher lamented, "He was pretty far back and he made a lot of ground up from the half to the quarter pole. In a perfect world, you'd be able to wait a little longer to sustain that kick in the last part. But you've got to start moving when a horse like that is loose on the lead.”

The Jockey Club Gold Cup was a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, meaning Diversify has an expenses paid trip to Del Mar and a spot in the starting gate awaiting him. However, it’s not necessarily all systems go according to Violette. "We did pick up the 'Win and You're In' for the classic today, but we're going to enjoy today's race and give it a couple of days,” he said. “I’ll talk it over with Lauren Evans and Ralph Evans and we'll come up with a decision next week." 


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Meet Ashley Tamulonis

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, which led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation covering racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues and, from time to time, offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry. A move North to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the From Coast to Coast blog for HRN. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband, Chris, and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.

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