Baltimore, Md. – Luna Belle may be the best-known Maryland-bred in the state’s signature race for 3-year-old fillies – Friday’s $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) at historic Pimlico Race Course – but she isn’t the only one.
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Long Valley Stable’s Divine Huntress will be making her third straight start in a graded-stakes. The daughter of Divining Rod was bred in Maryland by Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Bowman, Rick Buckley and Joshua Dreiband.
Pimlico-based Buckley trained Divine Huntress for her first two starts, including her unveiling last November in a Laurel Park maiden special weight where she ran third. She was purchased privately after graduating by 2 ¼ lengths going seven furlongs Dec. 13 at Parx.
Graham Motion took over the training for Divine Huntress and she made her 3-year-old debut in a one-mile, 70-yard optional claimer Jan. 19, also at Parx, where she galloped home in hand by 12 ¾ lengths.
From there, the granddaughter of Hall of Fame sprinter Housebuster was a troubled ninth in the Feb. 19 Rachel Alexandra (G2) at Fair Grounds and fifth after pressing the pace in the April 9 Gazelle (G3) at Aqueduct, her only other try at the Black-Eyed Susan’s 1 1/8 miles.
“I was actually quite pleased with the Gazelle coming off the race in New Orleans, which was quite disappointing,” Motion said. “It was kind of an odd race where a horse [La Crete] got hurt in front of her, unfortunately. It seemed like [Divine Huntress] got a little bit off track and just didn’t finish up at all. I thought that she ran a much more professional race in the Gazelle and I want to give her another try at this level.”
Divine Huntress has breezed twice at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md. since the Gazelle, but is familiar with Pimlico from her days with Buckley.
“She trained at Pimlico before we purchased her and always handled that track well,” Motion said. “She has done well since the Gazelle.”