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devil-diver

Devil Diver

Devil Diver (1939-1961) was an American Thoroughbred racehorse foaled at Payne Whitney's Greentree Stable in Lexington, Kentucky. A bay colt by Sir Germans, he was out of Dabchick, and a member of the same foal crop as Shut Out. Both Shut Out and Devil Diver were pointed towards the 1942 Kentucky Derby, especially as Devil Diver had opened his three-year-old season winning the Phoenix Handicap and in the process beating Whirlaway who only the year before had won the United States Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing.

Devil Diver was trained by the Hall of Fame conditioner John M. Gaver, Sr., who also trained Shut Out. The Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Arcaro believed Devil Diver to be the superior horse (he hadn't been out of the money in 13 starts), and so chose to ride him in the Derby only to come in sixth as Shut Out won the prestigious race under jockey Wayne Wright by two lengths over Alsab. At three, of the two best Whitney colts, Shut Out prevailed. But at four, Devil Diver came into his own, living up to the promise of his two-and-three year old seasons. By the time he'd finished at five, he'd won eighteen stakes and was twice voted Champion Handicap Horse honors. In 1945, he came close to American Horse of the Year but lost the Pimlico Special to the filly Twilight Tear in a three horse race that included the very good Megogo.

Devil Diver holds a record that has so far never been broken. He won the Grade I Metropolitan Handicap in three consecutive years: 1943, 1944, and 1945. One of those wins, 1944, was accomplished under an unbroken record weight of 134 pounds. In his Suburban Handicap win, he gave the champion Stymie thirteen pounds. In 1944, the five-year-old Devil Diver won seven stakes race and in each he carried more than 130 pounds. Better with age, at five he competed at a variety of distances under a variety of weights, all heavy. In his last year, he was voted handicap horse of the season in both polls.

Devil Diver stood at stud at Greentree Farm. He was not outstanding, but over the years sired 18 stakes winners including Beau Diable, Call Over, Lotowhite, and the good broodmare Anchors Aweigh.

Devil Diver passed away in 1961.

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