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Derby decisions pending for Dance With Fate, Ring Weekend
While Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stable and Ciaglia Racing's Dance With Fate had an easy morning at Barn 22 following his victory in Saturday's Grade 1, $750,000 Blue Grass, trainer Peter Eurton was flying back to his Southern California base.
Via text, Eurton said Dance With Fate would return to California as scheduled on Monday but that a decision on returning to Kentucky for the $2 million Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 3 would not be made for a week.
With Saturday's victory, Dance With Fate earned 100 points toward the Kentucky Derby and a spot in the starting gate is his, should his connections opt to run.
St. Elias Stable and West Point Thoroughbred's Ring Weekend likewise secured a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate when he won the Tampa Bay Derby on March 8. The 50 points Ring Weekend earned for that victory are enough to have him 16th on the list of horses under consideration for the race. His Derby plans are of major interest to the connections of horses on the bubble.
"He is at Fair Hill," trainer Graham Motion said of Ring Weekend, who finished second in the Calder Derby on April 5. "I want to see how he is training. I was a little disappointed in his last race, but he seems fine. I am puzzled as to why he ran so bad; maybe he bounced off the race at Tampa."
Motion, who saddled Animal Kingdom to win the 2011 Kentucky Derby, said he will keep Ring Weekend at Fair Hill for a while.
"He will work there and we'll see how he's doing," Motion said. "We will do the right thing by the horse. He has run a lot and he has run at Churchill Downs (last September) so there is no need to rush there."
Postscripts from the Blue Grass:
The Blue Grass was run before Keeneland's second-largest crowd of 39,722, and trainer Wesley Ward was thrilled with the third-place effort of Pablo Del Monte.
"I was very proud of him. I think if the weather was a bit cooler like it is now, his speed may have carried farther," Ward said Sunday morning of the result that netted Pablo Del Monte 20 points toward the Kentucky Derby. He is one of six horses with that total.
"We are thinking about the Derby," Ward said. "That's the good thing about the points system: You know exactly where you stand."
The Derby is limited to the top 20 point earners that pass the entry box. Of the horses under consideration for the Derby, Pablo Del Monte stands 25th.
"We will stay here as long as possible, because he really thrives here," Ward said.
Katerina Vassilieva, who sent out fourth-place finisher Big Bazinga, was on her way back to Woodbine Sunday morning. Big Bazinga was fine on the morning after, said Vassilieva's assistant, Amber Mayers. She said the gelding would leave Keeneland for Woodbine Monday night. A possible future race there is the $125,000 Victoria Park, a 1 1/8-mile race on June 22. Mayers said Big Bazinga also could race at Arlington Park.
Trainer Justin Nixon said fifth-place finisher Coltimus Prime exited the Blue Grass in good order and also would be headed to Woodbine.
"I was very happy with him," Nixon said. "Our goal is the Queen's Plate (July 6), so we will take him back to Woodbine and look for a couple spots to get to the race."
Sixth-place finisher Gala Award and Vinceremos, who finished 14th, came out of the race well, according to Juan Tovar, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher. The two colts shipped to Churchill Downs Sunday morning.
Trainer Tom Bush said that So Lonesome would be heading back to New York following his seventh-place finish "to regroup."
"He came out of the race fine," Bush said. "There were a lot of nice horses behind him and the winner looked very legit on paper."
Martine Pare, assistant to trainer Reade Baker, said Asserting Bear came out of his eighth-place finish in good shape and would remain at Keeneland for a while before heading to Woodbine to target the Queen's Plate.
All American Horses LLC's Casiguapo, who was ninth, is leaving today to return to trainer Mario Morales' Calder base. Through trainer Manuel Azpurua, who served as interpreter, Morales said Casiguapo was good this morning.
"He came back in good shape," Morales said. "He ate everything last night."
Morales said Casiguapo would return to competition after a rest, likely in an allowance race.
The Keeneland crowd included some 20 representatives of the University of Kentucky's Equine Research Unit, which is based at Maine Chance Farm. UK bred Casiguapo.
"The students were disappointed in the final result, but when they got a little perspective it turned out to be a positive all around," Dr. Laurie Lawrence, a professor of equine nutrition, said. She said about 12 members visited Casiguapo at his barn after the race to thank the connections.
Coastline, who finished 10th, probably is headed back to sprints, according to trainer Mark Casse.
"I thought Stewart (Elliott) did a great job from the post (11)," Casse said. "Stewart said he had a smile on his face at the half-mile pole and a frown at the three-eighths pole."
Melanie Williams, assistant to trainer Michael Trombetta, said Extrasexyhippzster was fine the morning after his 11th-place finish and would remain at Keeneland for another week before shipping to Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland.