- Road to the Kentucky Derby
- Racing & Wagering
American Lion bound for Keeneland
From Sunday's Keeneland notes:
WinStar Farm's AMERICAN LION (Tiznow), who captured Saturday's Illinois Derby (G3), was scheduled to return to Keeneland on Sunday afternoon.
American Lion's victory gave WinStar three horses with enough earnings to be guaranteed a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate, along with Sunland Derby (G3) hero ENDORSEMENT (Distorted Humor) and multiple Grade 3 winner RULE (Roman Ruler), who was third in the Florida Derby (G1) last out.
"We are evaluating all of them," Bill Casner, president of WinStar, said about the farm's Derby hopefuls. "I thought American Lion ran a much improved race yesterday, and (jockey) David Flores gets along with him well.
"He was more relaxed yesterday and it looks like he might like dirt better. Dirt tends to favor speed, and that was a thought in running there."
American Lion, successful in the Hollywood Prevue S. (G3) last November, was third in the Robert B. Lewis S. (G2) and fourth in the San Felipe S. (G2) in his last two starts.
"Endorsement is here (at Keeneland) and Rule is still in Florida," Casner added. "SUPER SAVER (Maria's Mon) is still in Florida, but will be shipping to Oaklawn for the Arkansas Derby (G1) on Saturday. DROSSELMEYER (Distorted Humor), we are going to bring him in here and see."
Super Saver, winner of the Kentucky Jockey Club S. (G2) at Churchill Downs in his juvenile finale, finished a close third in the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) in his seasonal reappearance. With $163,832 in graded earnings, Super Saver is outside of the top 20 on the graded earnings list at the moment, but can move up significantly with a strong effort in the $1 million Arkansas Derby.
Drosselmeyer's troubled trip in the Louisiana Derby (G2), where he wound up third, leaves him much lower on the list with only $87,000 in career graded earnings.