We are spotlighting client Josh Stevens, owner of J. Stevens Bloodstock after Divisidero's decisive victory in the Grade I $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on Derby Day. J Stevens Bloodstock purchased Divisidero as a yearling in 2013 for Gunpowder Farms LLC and also manages their portfolio of horses.
Advantage: What was the week leading up to the race like?
JS: We went into the week cautiously optimistic. We were running against champions, multiple grade one winners, and millionaires. We were the buzz horse but had yet to prove ourselves at that level. After watching the pre-race workout over the turf on Monday I knew we had the right horse but we still needed things to unfold in our favor.
At what point in the race did you think Divisidero would go on to win?
He broke really sharp and did a nice job sitting about four lengths off the pace. Going in to the first turn I thought he had a great chance. When I saw the fractions on the back side I was worried it was a bit fast and we were too close. When Divisidero made his patented swinging move on the far turn and we only had one more horse to beat I knew it was over, we just needed to hit the wire.
What was the celebration like?
We celebrated so long we got kicked out of the winner's circle. My parents and girlfriend were with me as well as a friend who helped get Divisidero ready for his return. It felt like winning the lottery.
What is it like winning on such a big stage, especially Derby Day?
It is something I have dreamed about since I was a little kid, and we have now done it with Divisidero two years in a row. It is amazing to see owners, grooms, trainers, and everybody involved rewarded for all of their hard work. I was proud to see the horse show his true talent and we are simply along for the ride with this great horse.
What is next for Divisidero?
The horse will most likely move on the the Grade I Woodford Reserve Manhattan in New York on Belmont day if he comes out of the race well.
To learn more about Josh and J. Stevens Bloodstock, click here.