From Sunday's Keeneland notes:
Florida Derby (G1) runner-up PLEASANT PRINCE (Indy King) worked five furlongs in a bullet :58 2/5 over Keeneland's Polytrack on Sunday morning, signaling his sharpness for Saturday's Blue Grass S. (G1). Jockey Julien Leparoux was aboard for the move, which easily ranked as the fastest of 17 at the distance.
"That was about as good as a horse can work," trainer Wesley Ward said.
Pleasant Prince broke off about four lengths behind workmate Hunter's Kitten (Kitten's Joy), a once-raced sophomore, and tracked that horse until just before the eighth-pole when he easily breezed past. Hunter's Kitten finished up in 1:01 3/5.
Keeneland clockers caught Pleasant Prince in fractions of :12, :23 1/5, :34 4/5 and :46 1/5, with a six-furlong gallop-out in 1:11 3/5. Pleasant Prince pulled up seven furlongs in 1:27 2/5.
"He went very nice and handled the track well," said Leparoux, who will have the mount in the Blue Grass.
Owner Ken Ramsey had wanted Pleasant Prince to train up to the May 1 Kentucky Derby (G1), but with $162,500 in graded stakes earnings, the possibility existed that the colt might not have enough money to secure a spot in the Derby starting gate that is reserved for the top 20 graded money earners.
"Another inch in Florida and we wouldn't be having this conversation," Ramsey said, referring to Pleasant Prince's nose defeat to Ice Box (Pulpit) in the March 20 Florida Derby. "But this looks like the right spot. It is three weeks before the Derby, and he ran well on this track here last fall."
Pleasant Prince made his second career start at Keeneland in October, finishing third in an $80,000 maiden claimer going seven furlongs.
"He trained great on this track last year, and after that race (at Keeneland) Julien got on him the first time and he broke his maiden at Churchill Downs," Ward said.
Leparoux rode Pleasant Prince in the Florida Derby and also was aboard for a fourth-place finish behind Eskendereya (Giant's Causeway) in the Fountain of Youth (G2).
While Pleasant Prince entered the Blue Grass picture, Sam-Son Farm's GIANT'S TOMB (Awesome Again) has been ruled out.
"I told (Racing Secretary) Ben (Huffman) yesterday that we are not running," trainer Mark Frostad said.