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Stately Victor pulls off a shocker in Blue Grass
The largest payoff in Blue Grass S. (G1) history prior to Saturday's $750,000 renewal at Keeneland was in 1970, when the unheralded Illinois-bred Dust Commander paid $72.80. Dust Commander returned nine days later to capture the Kentucky Derby, and the connections of STATELY VICTOR (Ghostzapper) hope for the same outcome three weeks from now after seeing their colt blow away a field of nine as the 40-1 longest shot in the 1 1/8-mile Polytrack event. Under Alan Garcia, the bay rated in the second tier through six furlongs before advancing around the final turn and finished full of run to register a 4 1/4-length triumph in a time of 1:48 3/5. He paid $82.80, $30.40 and $12.80.
Those that raced close to the pace in the Blue Grass fared well with the exception of Tampa Bay Derby (G3) winner Odysseus (Malibu Moon), who led through splits of :23 4/5 and :47 4/5 before coming under pressure from Paddy O'Prado (El Prado [Ire]) and retreating to last. Paddy O'Prado, who pressed the leader in second, moved ahead after six furlongs in 1:12 1/5 and looked strong approaching the eighth pole, but he had little left to fend off the eventual winner. First Dude (Stephen Got Even), meanwhile, was never more than two lengths off the leaders through six furlongs, and held on for third, one length behind the runner-up. Interactif (Broken Vow), the 3-1 favorite, endured a wide trip throughout and settled for fourth.
Paddy O'Prado, the 9-2 second choice, returned $6 and $4.40 and completed the $572.60 exacta. First Dude, at 9-1, paid $6.40 and capped the $4,291 trifecta. The superfecta returned a whopping $20,777.20.
Following Interactif past the wire were Codoy (Bernstein), Make Music for Me (Bernstein), Pleasant Prince (Indy King), Aikenite (Yes It's True) and Odysseus.
Tarined by Mike Maker, Stately Victor was a maiden winner on turf at Saratoga in his second career start, Stately Victor made a mild bid to finish sixth in the Breeders' Futurity (G1) in his only other try over the Polytrack. He then failed to place in four subsequent allowance attempts, two on dirt and two on turf. He increased his earnings by a factor of 10 with this triumph, moving to a mark of 8-2-1-0, $493,213.
Bred by Adena Springs and sold for $250,000 at its March two-year-old in training sale last year, Stately Victor is owned by F. Thomas Conway and Jack Conway, the attorney general of Kentucky and a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate. He was produced by Collect the Cash (Dynaformer), who captured the 2000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) over the Keeneland turf. She is also responsible for the stakes-placed Money My Money (Red Bullet), an unnamed juvenile filly by Smart Strike and a 2010 colt by Lemon Drop Kid. This is the family of Grade 3 winners Dr. Bobby A. (Dr. Carter) and Nome (Double Sonic).
The announced attendance at Keeneland for the Blue Grass was a near-record 33,727. The all-time record was the 33,821 on hand to witness the 2007 Lexington S. (G2).