SANTIVA (Giant's Causeway) and WILLCOX INN (Harlan's Holiday), the respective second- and third-place finishers from the Breeders' Futurity (G1) at Keeneland last fall, each posted works on Saturday in advance of their rematch in the 87th running of the Blue Grass S. (G1) on April 16.
Likely Blue Grass favorite Santiva, who capped 2010 with a maiden-breaking score in the Kentucky Jockey Club S. (G2), breezed five furlongs in 1:00 at his winter base of Palm Meadows. A fine second in the Risen Star S. (G2) in his sophomore debut, the Eddie Kenneally pupil tied for the third-best of 14 moves at the distance on the fast track.
Santiva is scheduled to ship to Keeneland on Sunday.
Over Keeneland's Polytrack, Willcox Inn worked six furlongs in 1:12 2/5 in company with stablemate Lumberyard Jack (Bellamy Road), who went in 1:13. Click here for video of the work.
With jockey Rosie Napravnik up, Willcox Inn started off a length behind Lumberyard Jack, drew even near the end of the far turn, and finished two lengths in front.
Fractions for Willcox Inn were :13, :25, :36 2/5, :48 and :59, and the Mike Stidham trainee galloped out seven furlongs in 1:26 2/5.
"It could not have gone any better," Stidham said. "He broke off fairly easy, finished strong and galloped out very well. Lumberyard Jack is a three-year-old maiden special weight winner at the Fair Grounds. He is a quality horse."
The Blue Grass will be the second start of 2011 for Willcox Inn, who ran second in his seasonal debut behind Great Mills (War Front) in the March 12 Grindstone S. at Fair Grounds. On Friday, Great Mills was beaten a nose in the final jump by Air Support (Smart Strike) in the Transylvania (G3).
"It is amazing that the horses he has been running against have come back to win stakes or run exceptionally well," Stidham said. "You go all the way back to his first start when he broke his maiden and see who he beat: Animal Kingdom (Leroidesanimaux [Brz])."
Animal Kingdom won last month's Spiral (G3) to earn a probable start in the 137th Kentucky Derby (G1).
Willcox Inn also has strong form through his third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G2), just behind runner-up Soldat (War Front), who went on to win the Fountain of Youth (G2) this winter at Gulfstream Park.
Stidham said that Willcox Inn would return to the track Monday.
Other Blue Grass probables taking to Keeneland's main track Saturday morning were Rushaway S. runner-up CRIMSON CHINA (Giant's Causeway), who galloped under Leo Molina; Palm Beach S. (G3) third NEWSDAD (Arch), who galloped under exercise rider Rodolphe Brissett; and Tropical Park Derby winner KING CONGIE (Badge of Silver), who galloped 1 1/4 miles under Dan Blacker.
Rushaway victor SWIFT WARRIOR (First Samurai) galloped on the training track under exercise rider Eliel De Jesus.
At Trackside Louisville, Palm Beach upsetter JOES BLAZING AARON (Graeme Hall) sped five furlongs in :59 4/5 over a fast track in preparation for the Blue Grass.