Kentucky Derby on Blended Citizen’s agenda following Jeff Ruby Steaks win

Mar 17, 2018 by Ed DeRosa/

Blended Citizen was not among the original nominees to the Triple Crown, but his connections plan to nominate him following his win in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) on Saturday at Turfway Park.

Owners Greg Hall and Steve Young were at Turfway for the 34-point Road to the Kentucky Derby race, and plan to put the 20 points their colt earned for winning the Jeff Ruby Steaks to use by nominating him to the Triple Crown. A nomination would give Blended Citizen 22 points total, as he also earned 2 for finishing 3rd in the El Camino Real Derby.

“If we have enough points, our intent is to run in the Derby,” co-owner Steve Young said.

“We’re confident in the horse,” co-owner Greg Hall added. “We’ll see what (trainer) Doug (O’Neill) wants to do.”

The win was especially fitting on St. Patricks Day, as Blended Citizen raced in the lime and dark green colors of Young’s Sayjay Racing. In addition to the Jeff Ruby Steaks trophies, the winning connections also received a green horseshoe from Turfway.

Indeed, jockey Kyle Frey may have had some luck from the Irish, as he found several holes on the far turn and turning for home before diving to the rail and outbidding Pony Up late to get the win.

“I wasn’t worried at any point about my horse—I knew I had horse,” said the former Eclipse Award winner as outstanding apprentice. “I was worried about finding a hole. Once I saw one I told the guys around me, ‘Sorry buddies, I got horse and I’m going to get the money,’ and we did.”

Blended Citizen ran midpack through the early portion of the race and down the backstretch before starting his move into contention on the far turn. Pacesetter Mugaritz faded late, and the closing stages were a mad dash to the finish between Blended Citizen on the rail and Pony Up in the center of the track.

“That was a great job by Kyle to work out that trip,” co-owner Young said. “We wanted him to be close but not too close and be in a position to win turning for home, and he was.”

O’Neill trains Blended Citizen, a $85,000 two-year-old in training purchase at the 2017 March Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. Young said his bloodstock agent Brooke Hubbard picked out the Proud Citizen colt.

Blended Citizen has now won 2-of-8 career starts and has earnings of $174,000. This is Frey’s third career graded stakes win from 17 mounts in such races.

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