Rick Violette slammed his right fist down on the ledge of his front-row box and yelled one word – one sharp, definitive, door-slamming, declaration of a word.
“Yes,” the trainer said.
Seconds later, Diversify galloped past Violette, home free in the Grade 1 Whitney. In front from the start, Diversify stayed the course through the lane. The hard work done, Diversify scored by 3 1/2 lengths over Mind Your Biscuits and Discreet Lover in the $1.2 million stakes. Owned by Ralph Evans and his daughter Lauren, Diversify won his 10th race and second Grade 1 stakes.
An hour earlier, Violette and the rest of the Whitney participants waited out a thunderstorm that delayed the start of the Whitney for 44 minutes. While the eight Whitney runners, tacked up and ready to roll, walked in circles like soldiers on watch, Violette, standing just inside the saddling stalls tent leaned toward jockey Irad Ortiz and offered his take. “They sealed the racetrack, I think that will help us,” Violette said. “The outside was better, this might level the playing field. The rain, sealing it, it might help.”
Ortiz nodded his head, knowing he was gunning Diversify to the lead and hoping that the sealed, sloppy track did indeed help.
Diversify helped the cause, rocketing from stall 6 as the gates sprung.
“Broke great,” Violette said, as Ortiz slapped Diversify on his right shoulder twice and looked inside to see how fast he could clear. Real fast.
By the first turn, Diversify was in his wheelhouse, on the rail and in front as Tapwrit, Backyard Heaven and Dalmore tried to keep up. Mind Your Biscuits, making his first start at 9 furlongs, settled in fifth. Discreet Lover and McCraken filed in sixth and seventh while Good Samaritan lagged in last. Diversify ripped through the first quarter-mile in :23.22.
“That’s all right,” Violette said.
To read the rest of the Whitney recap, download Sunday’s digital edition of The Saratoga Special presented by EasyFix Stable Solutions.