Three likely candidates for next Saturday's 88th running of the Grade 1, $750,000 Blue Grass put in five-furlong works over the Keeneland Polytrack Saturday morning.
MarchFore Thoroughbreds' Adirondack King covered the distance in :59 4/5; Team Valor International's Howe Great was clocked in 1:01 3/5 and Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Politicallycorrect worked in :59 (one of three bullet works at the distance).
Adirondack King, seventh in the Grade 2 Rebel in his most recent start, worked on even terms with S.M.D. Ltd.'s Ill Conceived through an initial three furlongs in :36 with gallop-out times of 1:12 2/5 for six furlongs and 1:27 1/5 for seven-eighths (click here for work video).
Julien Leparoux was aboard Adirondack King and Gabriel Saez was on Ill Conceived, who is being pointed to the Grade 3 Lexington on April 21. Ill Conceived's work was his first since finishing seventh in the Grade 3 Spiral on March 24 at Turfway Park.
"The cooler weather really quickened the track up," trainer John Servis said before the work as 36 degrees glowed on the infield toteboard. "This was a little better than his last work (a 1:02 3/5 move last Sunday that was Adirondack King's first work on Polytrack). The last work was pretty unproductive."
Stewart Elliott has ridden Adirondack King in six of his eight starts and "probably" would have the mount in the Blue Grass, according to Servis.
Howe Great, working in company with four-year-old allowance winner Under Control, was credited with fractions of :25 2/5, :37 1/5, :48 4/5 and out six furlongs in 1:14 4/5 (click here for work video). Heather Craig was aboard Howe Great and Zeke Castro was on Under Control.
"It was a good work and went as well as it could have," said trainer Graham Motion, who watched the work with Team Valor head Barry Irwin.
Motion, who plans to return to Keeneland on Friday, also has Spiral winner Went the Day Well stabled here and plans to take the same route to the Kentucky Derby with him as he did with Animal Kingdom last year.
"He will work next Saturday," Motion said. "He will have two works here and his final work at Churchill Downs. It is basically the same as what Animal Kingdom did."
Trainer Wesley Ward was pleased with the work by Ken and Sarah Ramsey's homebred Politicallycorrect, who was ridden by Marcelino Pedroza (click here for work video). The gelding by Kitten's Joy worked in company with New Believer. New Believer, who worked in 1:00, is undefeated in his five starts at Keeneland during his 20-race career.
"It was fantastic," Ward said of the move. "I've always liked him best of all the horses that Mr. Ramsey gave me last year. Of all the Kitten's Joys, he's been my favorite from Day One. He was a little disappointing the first part of the year just because I thought so much of him. He's sort of come into what I thought he was. I gave him a lot of time to develop."
Politicallycorrect made the third start of his career last October at Keeneland, running second in a seven-furlong maiden race. At Gulfstream Park, he broke his maiden at 1 1/16 miles and won a seven-furlong allowance race in his most recent start on February 26.
"You're always jumping in big when you're in a Grade 1," Ward said. "We got here a good five weeks before the race so he could settle in so we would have the home court advantage, so to speak."
Ward said Politicallycorrect runs in an outside extension blinker because "he's always had a tendency to get out a little bit ever since he's been a two-year-old. There's nothing physically wrong; it's just something in his mind. When we put that blinker on, he goes straight as a string; he always had. You take it off him and he sort of drifts a little bit."
Magic City Thoroughbred Partners' Golden Ticket worked five furlongs in 1:03 (click here for work video) with Craig Carver aboard in his first move since finishing second in the March 10 Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby to Blue Grass probable contender Prospective. By Speightstown, Golden Ticket, who worked in company with Our Midnight Run, also is under consideration for the Lexington.
"We're going to scope him to make sure he's clean," trainer Ken McPeek said about Golden Ticket. "I wasn't completely thrilled with it. The workmate didn't help him. We'll see how many are going."
Scheduled to work at Keeneland on Sunday for the Blue Grass are Donegal Racing's Dullahan and Dogwood Stable's Raconteur.