Racing News

Odysseus takes to the track after early morning rain

| Brisnet Editorial | 04/08/2010 #

From Thursday's Keeneland notes:

On a soggy Thursday morning at Keeneland, the waiting game was on at Barn 33.

"We are going to wait it out," said Dan Blacker, assistant to trainer Tom Albertrani and exercise rider for Padua Stables' ODYSSEUS (Malibu Moon), the 7-2 morning-line second choice for Saturday's Blue Grass S. (G1). Odysseus will break from post position 1.

Instead of going to the track just before 7:30 a.m. (EDT) as has been his norm this week, Odysseus cooled his heels back at the barn. By 9 a.m., the rain had diminished to a drizzle and by the time Blacker and Odysseus hit the track, the precipitation had stopped.

Odysseus jogged a mile and then stood at the paddock runway for a few minutes.

"He's got great composure, and if you let him, he would stand there for an hour. He loves to watch everything," Blacker said.

Odysseus then galloped 1 1/2 miles, picking up the pace the final half of the exercise.

"He basically did a two-minute lick the last three-quarters and picked it up the final quarter mile," said Sasha Sanan, son of Padua owner Satish Sanan. "I got him in :14, :14, :14, :14, :13 and :13."

Should Odysseus pass his Blue Grass test, he could give Padua its fifth starter in the Kentucky Derby (G1).

"We had Curlin and Any Given Saturday in partnership in 2007," Sanan said. "That was quite a crop. We also had Quintons Gold Rush (in partnership) in 2004 and Exchange Rate (in 2000)."

A Kentucky Derby starter every three or four years is not bad, "but we'd love to have one every year," Sanan said with a smile.

In other Blue Grass news:

Ken and Sarah Ramsey's PLEASANT PRINCE (Indy King), the 3-1 morning-line favorite who will break from post position 6 for Saturday's Blue Grass, galloped 1 1/2 miles in the rain Thursday morning under exercise rider Brian Pena. Trainer Wesley Ward, who was at Gulfstream Park, was expected to return to Lexington, Kentucky, later Thursday.

Donegal Racing's PADDY O'PRADO (El Prado [Ire]), listed at 10-1 on the morning line for the Blue Grass, galloped 1 1/2 miles under Mary Doser before the heaviest of the morning deluge hit. Paddy O'Prado will break from post position 7.

Todd Pletcher is pleased with the outside post positions for his two starters in this year's race, according to assistant trainer Ginny DiPasquale. Dogwood Stable's AIKENITE (Yes It's True) will break from post 8 with Garrett Gomez aboard, and INTERACTIF (Broken Vow) will start from post 9 under Rafael Bejarano.

"Aikenite tends to like to be on the outside," DiPasquale said about the colt, who was second in the Breeders' Futurity (G1) here last October. "It seems like when he's inside, he gets in a little bit of trouble. This will hopefully keep both horses freer to run on. Interactif is a good closer anyway. Hopefully, they can get tucked in before the first turn and they're not hung out nine wide."

On Thursday, Aikenite walked through the paddock and galloped about 1 1/4 miles with exercise rider Melvin Hernandez. Interactif is currently at Churchill Downs and will be vanned to Keeneland on Saturday morning.

Ellen and Peter O. Johnson Sr.'s MAKE MUSIC FOR ME (Bernstein), who arrived at Keeneland Tuesday afternoon from Southern California, galloped 1 3/8 miles with Andy Durnin aboard.

"He was very comfortable," said Durnin, who has worked with trainer Alexis Barba for 14 years since she was an assistant to the late Eddie Gregson.

Durnin said that he and Barba had not talked about a race strategy for the colt, who drew post 4.

"He's a pretty straightforward horse, so tactically there's not really much to discuss," Durnin said. "He's going to go out there and run his race."

Durnin said he expects Barba to be here Friday morning to watch the colt train. Mike Smith, who has ridden Make Music for Me in his last three races, will be aboard in the Blue Grass.

Bred to Win Partners LLC's CODOY (Bernstein) also toured the paddock on his way to the track, where he galloped about 1 5/8 miles with Mimi Davis aboard. The colt, who drew post 5 with John Velazquez aboard, and STATELY VICTOR (Ghostzapper) both are 30-1 longshots on the morning line.

"I hope he doesn't run like he's 30-1," Codoy's trainer, Mark Hubley, said with a laugh. "Most of these horses have run second to a good horse. We'll see what happens. Listening to the handicapper (morning line oddsmaker Mike Battaglia), I got a little intimidated (with him) extolling the virtues of everybody else's horse, but I think this race is pretty wide open, really. It'll be fun. It'll be exciting. We're ready to go."