Saturday's Grade 1, $750,000 Blue Grass offers 170 points on the road to the $2 million Kentucky Derby, but for trainer Peter Eurton, the points are the furthest thing from his mind with Dance With Fate.
"This is a special place for me," Eurton said. "There is no better feeling than coming down the steps to go to the winner's circle in the infield like last fall with Madame Cactus after the Raven Run. We had a blast here."
Eurton, who also saddled She's Cheeky to a runner-up finish behind champion Groupie Doll in the 2012 Madison over the track, hopes to make a repeat run Saturday with Dance With Fate, who is owned by Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stable and Ciaglia Racing.
"This race has been in the plans since the Breeders' Cup," Eurton said. "The Blue Grass is a destination more than anything and not just a prep for the Derby."
At this stage of the game, Eurton feels Dance With Fate's preferred surface is Polytrack.
"Maybe when he gets bigger and stronger he will be better on dirt, but I think he is better on Polytrack," Eurton stated. "He's a wonderful turf horse. He relaxes on grass and he has a great turn of foot."
In his two starts on dirt, Dance With Fate finished second in the FrontRunner and eighth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita.
"He made the lead and then hung in the FrontRunner and I don't think he saw the other horse (winner Bond Holder)," Eurton said. "Then he had problems in the Breeders' Cup (when he got squeezed at the start)."
Dance With Fate, by Two Step Salsa, finished second in the El Camino Real Derby in his most recent start and is scheduled to return to California on Monday.
However, a first- or second-place finish Saturday would give Dance With Fate, who has accumulated eight points, enough points to make the Kentucky Derby starting gate.
"It would be a lovely problem to have," said Eurton, who has 38 horses in his stable. "I don't think it would be good for him (to ship twice in three weeks from California)."