June 9, 2023

Diversify to be pre-entered for Breeders’ Cup Classic following breeze

Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. gives a thumbs up after guiding Diversify to a front-running victory in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Belmont Park on Saturday, October 7, 2017 (c) NYRA/Joe Labozzetta/Adam Coglianese Photography

Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) victor Diversify breezed five furlongs in 1:01.58 over Belmont Park’s fast main track on Saturday, and afterward co-owner Ralph M. Evans said the Bellamy Road gelding would be pre-entered to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Del Mar on November 4.

However, Evans stated Diversify is still not confirmed for the Classic.

“We were pleased with the work so we’ll pre-enter, but the final decision has not been made,” said Evans, who co-owns Diversify with his daughter Lauren. “We’re very much on the fence. There are a couple in there that have the same running style as we do, so we might run the risk of being compromised (with a fast pace) and there’s lots of races in New York.

“Frankly, I would love to run, but the final decision is up to (trainer) Rick (Violette Jr.).”

Diversify, who had exercise rider Rodney Paine in the irons for what could be his penultimate breeze for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, exited Saturday’s move in good order.

“Rick would’ve been happy with anything 1:03 or less, because the final work will put a little more speed in him,” Evans said. “This was a semi-maintenance work. Rodney seemed to be very pleased. The way he did it was what was expected from him, and he cooled out fine and scoped fine.”

Diversify earned an all-fees paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Classic with his Jockey Club Gold Cup score on October 7 at Belmont Park. It was his third straight stakes win but his first try against graded rivals; three of his four prior stakes attempts came against state-breds.

One factor Diversify’s connections won’t have to worry about if they decide to go to the Classic is finding a jockey. Irad Ortiz Jr., who has piloted the bay four-year-old in his past three wins, would be available for the mount.

“I don’t know whether I would have pre-entered if I had to spend the money, but it’s sort of a free look, if you will. You might as well,” Evans admitted. “We have our rider if we go and I think all we need is one major defection. I’d rather go out there trying to beat one or two horses than trying to beat three or four.”

Evans said a final decision on Diversify’s participation in the Breeders’ Cup Classic would come after his final breeze, which is scheduled for Saturday, October 28.

“After the pre-entries, we’ll have one sharp work hopefully and if all goes well, then we’ll probably get our space on a plane with some other horses that are going to Del Mar late,” he said. “Unless something comes up, it’ll be a late decision.”

Evans previously indicated that if Diversify doesn’t go in the Classic he could show up in the December 2 Cigar Mile Handicap (G1) at Aqueduct.