Evans never envisioned such a level of success when he paid $210,000 for the gelding last November at Keeneland. The New York-bred was 2-for-2 at the time for trainer Rick Violette. Evans has been a long-time client of Violette’s.
“I felt very comfortable with the fact that Rick previously trained him. He certainly had conditions left,” Evans said. “The numbers he ran in his first two races were very competitive.”
Diversify has been a revelation since then.
“Early on, I thought he might be distance challenged. I knew he was fast,” Evans said. “But as we went on, we realized the last two races that when he’s on the lead, he’s a tough customer.”
Said Violette, “He’s done nothing but get better from the early summer until now. He’s always been a nice horse, but he certainly jumped into the major leagues here.”
Sired by Bellamy Road, Diversify was coming off an overpowering 11 ½-length romp in the Evan Shipman Stakes, a 1 1/8-mile race restricted to New York-breds on Aug. 21 at Saratoga. Although he was unable to run away from six rivals this time, he had plenty left to repel the late charge of Keen Ice. Pavel, a promising 3-year-old testing older horses for the first time, ran third.
The Gold Cup winner qualifies for an automatic berth in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 4 at Del Mar, with all expenses paid. Evans was noncommittal about whether Diversity will take advantage of that but said, “It would be no shame if we hit the board in a $6 million race, especially if all expenses are paid.”