- Road to the Kentucky Derby
- Racing & Wagering
Blue Grass principals in good shape on Sunday
From Sunday's Keeneland notes:
STATELY VICTOR (Ghostzapper), who rewarded a record Blue Grass (G1) crowd of 33,727 with a record $82.20 payoff on Saturday, made a quick return to his Trackside Training Center base in Louisville, Kentucky.
"He came out of the race fine; excellent," trainer Mike Maker said of Stately Victor, who cruised to a 4 1/4-length victory.
Maker was asked if Stately Victor had not won Saturday, what would he have done with the colt.
"I really didn't go any further than yesterday, but probably a conditioned allowance race," Maker said of Stately Victor, who had won one of seven starts entering the Blue Grass.
Now, Maker gets to plot a path to the Kentucky Derby (G1) in 20 days.
"He will work six or seven days out from the Derby and that will be it," said Maker, who never has had a Kentucky Derby starter.
In addition to Stately Victor, Maker also conditions Dean's Kitten (Kitten's Joy), winner of the Lane's End (G2) at Turfway Park on March 27, for Ken and Sarah Ramsey.
"He worked well yesterday (1:01 4/5 for five furlongs at Trackside) and he will work every Saturday or Sunday prior to the Derby," Maker said about Dean's Kitten.
PADDY O'PRADO (El Prado [Ire]) and FIRST DUDE (Stephen Got Even), who ran two-three for trainer Dale Romans, both came out of the race fine. The $150,000 that Paddy O'Prado earned in the race increased his graded stakes bankroll to $250,950 and possibly secured the colt a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate.
"I am not sure when he will ship back to Churchill Downs," Romans said from Louisville of Paddy O'Prado, who has been at Keeneland for more than two weeks. "First Dude came back here last night after the race."
INTERACTIF (Broken Vow), the 3-1 favorite who finished fourth, returned to trainer Todd Pletcher's barn at Churchill Downs. AIKENITE (Yes It's True), who ran eighth, remains at Keeneland. Assistant Ginny DePasquale didn't know the future plans for the Dogwood Stable runner.
"We're not sure what's next," trainer Mark Hubley said about CODOY (Bernstein), who finished fifth. Hubley is considering Churchill Downs, where options for the colt are a return to grass in the American Turf (G2) at 1 1/16 miles on April 30 or a try on dirt in allowance competition.
"I would imagine one of those two spots," he said.
MAKE MUSIC FOR ME (Bernstein) who finished sixth in the race, definitely will continue on to Churchill Downs. The multiple Grade 1-placed colt is currently 25th on the list of graded stakes earnings among Derby hopefuls with $218,750, so he would only earn a spot in the Derby starting gate with the defections of horses ahead of him. Depending on what happens, trainer Alexis Barba said an option for Make Music for Me is the American Turf.
"The horse will probably stay here another week then go to Churchill," Barba said about Make Music for Me's immediate schedule.
Trainer Wesley Ward said Ken and Sarah Ramsey's PLEASANT PRINCE (Indy King), seventh in the Blue Grass, came out of the race well.
"He is perfect this morning. We scoped him after the race yesterday and he scoped clean," Ward said.
"He had worked so well last Sunday when it was cool, and I think if the Blue Grass had been run the day before, he would have handled the track better. The sun was out, the girls were in their sundresses and it was great for everybody, but not my horse. He just didn't get hold of the track like he did in his work Sunday (five furlongs in :58 2/5)."
Pleasant Prince picked up $3,750 on Saturday from the Blue Grass to increase his graded stakes earnings to $166,250, good for only 29th on the list of horses considering a Kentucky Derby run. The top 20 horses in graded stakes earnings entered earn a spot in the starting gate.
"We gave it a shot yesterday to get the earnings," Ward said. "We are going to train like we are going to the Derby, but we are in trouble. (Jockey) Julien (Leparoux) told Mr. Ramsey after the race to just throw it out because he didn't handle the track.
"We will probably go on to the Preakness ([G1] at Pimlico on May 15). We will get Julien (Leparoux) to breeze him here a couple of times."
ODYSSEUS (Malibu Moon), who faded to ninth after setting the pace, is likely headed to New York this week.
"He will probably ship back to Belmont Park on Tuesday or Wednesday and we will regroup from there," said Dan Blacker, assistant to trainer Tom Albertrani. "He came out of the race fine, but yesterday was a real head scratcher. We have no explanation (for how he ran)."