Racing News

Blue Grass hopefuls 'Tune' up at Keeneland

  • Noble Tune has yet to compete on anything but grass (NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography)

Grade 1, $750,000 Blue Grass candidate Noble Tune worked five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 in company with Big Blue Kitten on Sunday over the Polytrack at Keeneland.

Julien Leparoux was aboard Noble Tune while Norberto Arroyo Jr. piloted Big Blue Kitten, who is nominated to the $300,000 Maker's 46 Mile on Friday and the $150,000 Ben Ali on April 21.

Clockers caught the pair in fractions of :13, :25 4/5, :37 2/5 and :49 1/5 with a gallop-out time of 1:14 1/5.

Noble Tune has thus far made all four of his career starts on turf and won his lone race of 2013, an allowance at Tampa Bay Downs, on March 9. Trained by Chad Brown, the Unbridled's Song colt finished second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf in his only loss to date. The dark bay broke his maiden at Saratoga prior to a 2 1/2-length score in the Pilgrim at Belmont Park last October.

Another three-year-old colt trained by Brown, Balance the Books, worked four furlongs in :48 1/5. Winner of Keeneland's Bourbon and the With Anticipation at Saratoga, the Lemon Drop Kid colt suffered his first unplaced finish when 11th in the Spiral on March at Turfway Park.

My Name is Michael also readied for an expected start in the Blue Grass on Sunday, turning a half-mile in :49 at Keeneland under assistant trainer Rodolphe Brisset. The Bill Mott-trained son of Macho Uno was third in the Sam F. Davis on February 2 before an off-the-board run in the Spiral, and will get a jockey switch to Shaun Bridgmohan for the Blue Grass.

Two probables for the race, Java's War and Charming Kitten, turned in Sunday works away from Keeneland.

Java's War, second to the undefeated Verrazano in the Tampa Bay Derby in his most recent start, breezed a co-bullet five furlongs in 1:00 2/5 over a track labeled as good at Gulfstream Park. Trained by Ken McPeek, the stakes-winning son of War Pass is scheduled to ship to Keeneland on Monday.

Charming Kitten, runner-up to Rydilluc in the Palm Beach in his most recent start, toured four furlongs in :50 at Palm Meadows over a fast track for trainer Todd Pletcher. The Kitten's Joy colt captured a stakes named in honor of his sire at Gulfstream on January 20.

In other Blue Grass news, Rydilluc came out of his Saturday move at Keeneland fine, according to trainer Gary Contessa. The bay son of Medaglia d'Oro breezed seven furlongs on the Polytrack in 1:28 3/5 and will return to the track Monday morning.

Grade 2 victor Uncaptured, who also worked at Keeneland on Saturday, was back on the track Sunday morning for some light exercise for trainer Mark Casse. The Lion Heart colt covered five-eighths in 1:01 2/5 Saturday.

"He is excellent this morning," Casse said. "Other horses are hard on themselves when they work, but he just lopes around there and I bring him back the next day."

Casse also reported that stablemate and fellow Blue Grass hopeful Dynamic Sky, who worked five furlongs in 1:01 2/5 at Churchill Downs on Saturday, came out of the move fine. The Sky Mesa colt was scheduled to ship to Keeneland later Sunday and would be on the track Monday morning.

California Chrome Cruises to Victory in 140th Kentucky Derby before Crowd of 164,906

Steven Coburn and Perry Martin's favored California Chrome, ridden by Victor Espinoza, took command at the head of the stretch en route to a 1 3/4-length victory over Commanding Curve to win the 140th running of the $2,202,800 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I). A sun-splashed crowd of 164,906, the second-largest attendance in Kentucky Derby history, watched California Chrome give jockey Victor Espinoza a second Derby victory to go with his triumph on War Emblem in 2002.

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