In less than a month, Country Life Farm stallion Divining Rod went from getting his first winner, to four winners and taking the top spot among freshman sires in the region, to his first stakes winner, the latter coming when his son Local Motive grabbed the lead in Colonial Downs’ stretch and crossed the wire first ahead of eight rivals in the $100,000 Hickory Tree Stakes on Aug. 2.
Bred by Wasabi Ventures Stables LLC, Greenspring Mares LLC and Bowman and Higgins Stable out of Maryland Million Distaff Starter Handicap winner Wild for Love (by Not For Love), Local Motive races for Bird Mobberley and is trained by John E. Salzman Jr. Posting bullets at Timonium while Laurel’s track renovations were continuing, Local Motive made his debut nine days earlier at Pimlico and drew off to win by four and a quarter lengths going six furlongs on the main track.
Switched to the turf and sent five furlongs in the Hickory Tree, the bay gelding raced just off early pacesetters through a quarter in :22.28 and a half in :45.90, and was all business turning for home to record his second win in less than two weeks. Scoring by a half length, his completed the distance in :57.52.
With four winners from nine starters and progeny earnings just shy of $200,000, Divining Rod ranks 12th on the national first-crop sires list (through Aug. 4).
Divining Rod is a classic-placed son of Tapit standing at Country Life Farm in Bel Air. His first winner, Carnaval Conquest, led throughout at Fanduel Sportsbook And Horse Racing (Fairmount Park) in Illinois on July 6. His other two winners in July, Mr. Mox and Petition Prayer, captured maiden special weights at Pimlico.
Divining Rod was the most popular stallion in Maryland his first year at stud, covering 102 mares, and has 68 registered foals in his first crop. From the dynamic family of champion and two-time leading sire Kitten’s Joy, he is out of the champion’s Grade 1-winning half-sister Precious Kitten, an earner of $1,912,543 and also the dam of graded winner Jehozacat. Others in the family include stakes winner Justenuffheart, dam of Eclipse champion 2-year-old filly and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies-G1 winner Dreaming of Anna and graded stakes winners and sires Lewis Michael and Justenuffhumor, as well as Grade 1 winner and millionaire Down the Aisle.
Divining Rod won first time out at 2, and won or placed in his first six starts at 3, five of them graded stakes. He won Keeneland’s Lexington Stakes-G3 that spring by three lengths and finished third behind Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the Preakness-G1.
At 4, he finished first or second in all four starts, and just missed when second by a head in the $500,000 Grade 1 Cigar Mile. At 5, he ran seven furlongs in 1:22.07 when winning the Polynesian Stakes. Other stakes placings included a second to eventual Cigar Mile-G1 winner and Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile-G1 runner-up Sharp Azteca in the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap at one mile.
The 9-year-old dark bay stood the 2021 season at Country Life for $5,000 live foal.