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KENTUCKY DERBY 136: 19 DAYS TO GO – The names of past winners of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) frequently surface each year in the days leading up to the “Run for the Roses.” But it was interesting that the name that surfaced repeatedly over the past weekend was that of Dust Commander, who pulled a 15-1 surprise in the 1970 Derby and would never win another race.
Keeneland Racing Secretary Ben Huffman reports that, as of Sunday morning, 10 sophomores were listed as probable for Saturday's $300,000 Lexington S. (G2), one of the last chances for horses to possibly secure enough graded stakes earnings for a spot in the Kentucky Derby (G1) starting gate.
The countdown is on to the 136th edition of the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs on May 1, and trainer Todd Pletcher had three colts from his all-star team working a half-mile Sunday morning at Palm Meadows.
Last-out Louisiana Derby (G2) hero MISSION IMPAZIBLE (Unbridled's Song) traveled a half-mile in :49 1/5, while Risen Star S. (G2) victor DISCREETLY MINE (Mineshaft) covered four furlongs in :51. Multiple Grade 3 scorer RULE (Roman Ruler), most recently third in the Florida Derby (G1), breezed a half in :49 4/5.
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.
STATELY VICTOR WELL AFTER TOYOTA BLUE GRASS UPSET – Tom and Jack Conway’s Stately Victor is one of the newest entries to the Kentucky Derby 136 picture after his shocking 40-1 upset in Saturday’s $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (Grade I) at Keeneland. Now it’s on to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) for the son of Ghostzapper, whose win was the biggest surprise in the history of the Kentucky Derby prep.
From Sunday's Oaklawn notes:
The Kentucky Derby (G1) status of Grade 1 winner NOBLE'S PROMISE (Cuvee) was in question on Sunday, one day after the Ken McPeek colt finished fifth in the Arkansas Derby (G1) after a troubled trip as the 8-5 favorite.
"He got cut up at the start," assistant trainer Walt Blum Jr. said. "They squeezed him out and someone stepped on his foot. (Jockey) Robby (Albarado) then let him run up in there on the turn and he got cut up on both front legs.
From Sunday's Oaklawn notes:
The respective top three finishers from Saturday's Arkansas Derby (G1) -- LINE OF DAVID (Lion Heart), SUPER SAVER (Maria's Mon) and DUBLIN (Afleet Alex) -- were all doing well Sunday morning.
"He's feeling good, just like he never ran," Pedro Salazar, Line of David's groom, said while the chestnut colt munched on his feed. "He walked about 45 minutes this morning. He is in great shape."
Line of David is trained by John Sadler, who won the Santa Anita Derby (G1) last week with Sidney's Candy (Candy Ride [Arg]).
Jill Byrne analyzes the Kentucky Derby prep races from the previous weekend
Graded Stakes Earnings Update: Line of David, Stately Victor Surprise to Earning Way Into Derby Field
The top two finishers in Saturday’s Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (Line of David and Paddy O’Prado) and Arkansas Derby (Stately Victor and Super Saver) are now positioned within the Top 20 of the Graded Stakes Earnings list that determines the prospective field for Kentucky Derby 136 on Saturday, May 1 at Churchill Downs. Meanwhile, the results of Saturday’s “Road to the Kentucky Derby” prep races now leave Jackson Bend, Backtalk, Aikenite and Make Music for Me on the outside looking in.
Ike and Dawn Thrash's LINE OF DAVID (Lion Heart) scooted over from his outside post position to take the lead in Saturday's $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) on Oaklawn Park's closing day, and gutted out a neck victory over challengers Super Saver (Maria's Mon) and Dublin (Afleet Alex). Trained by John Sadler, the chestnut colt captured his stakes debut in this 1 1/8-mile event when stopping the clock in 1:49 1/5, and has now earned his shot at Kentucky Derby (G1) glory with the $600,000 winner's paycheck.