a graded breakthrough for Diversy Harbor!

Diversy Harbor (Motokiks, by Storm Cat) started off her career a filly on fire.  She broke her maiden at first asking in January of last year, going down the hill at Santa Anita.  Next out, stretching to a mile, she outfinished Nashoba’s Gold to take the China Doll stakes.  That was on March 8.

Leading into today, that was the last time Diversy Harbor had won.

Diversy Harbor had run some nice races and had some close calls in seven starts hence, all in graded company. Over those seven starts, five were at Santa Anita and two were at Del Mar.  She was off the board in both starts at Del Mar, but had proven herself a horse for the Santa Anita course.  Longshot Sweet Bliss nosed her out for the place in the Honeymoon, but Diversy Harbor had crossed the wire second in all four other starts at Santa Anita.  Last out, facing older for the first time in the Robert J. Frankel (GIII), her rally from last fell just a nose short.

Diversy Harbor made her four-year-old debut in the Buena Vista Stakes (GII), a race that her trainer Tom Proctor and her owner Glen Hill Farm had won last year with Pontchatrain.  She had been working solidly leading into the race, and looked dazzling in the paddock.  Still, a question of pace remained.  Diversy Harbor is a stone closer.  After the scratch of Uzziel, formidable frontrunner La Tia looked likely to get things her way on the front end.

As usual, La Tia broke on top; Diversy Harbor settled at the back.  Unlike in many of her more recent races, La Tia actually had a bit of pressure up front because Kent Desormeaux also sent Blingismything.  Diversy Harbor loped along, trailing: six lengths off the pace before the field even hit the clubhouse turn, and closer to ten off as the field ran down the backstretch.  Near the halfway point, Blingismything turned up the pressure on La Tia: good news for Diversy Harbor, who was rallying along the rail.

Turning for home, the rest of the field got close to the two pacesetters.  Both found a bit more rally.  La Tia held onto the lead inside the final furlong, with Blingismything unable to pass but staying doggedly within a length of her.  Past the eighth pole Diversy Harbor had improved from sixth position to third, and angled out for racing room.  She found her next gear just in time, and flew past both Blingismything and La Tia in the final sixteenth.  Diversy Harbor crossed the wire a widening three quarters of a length in front of La Tia, with Blingismything holding third another three quarters of a length back.

Diversy Harbor could not have asked for a better beginning to her four-year-old season.  She should remain a force going two turns on the grass out west; Steve Andersen of the Daily Racing Form suggested that the Santa Ana (GII) could be next.  Her breeding suggests she will get better with age.  Not only are Curlin’s progeny growing into themselves well with time, but half-siblings Keertana, Snow Top Mountain, and Whitefish all did their best work at ages four and five.  As good as she was at three, Diversy Harbor could be more exciting to follow at four.

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