WinStar Farm and Stonestreet Stables’ Carpe Diem did not disappoint his many fans as the overwhelming 3-5 favorite in Saturday’s $1 million Blue Grass Stakes (G1) at Keeneland, drawing off to a three-length victory in the prestigious 1 1/8-mile race.
Always close to the pace with jockey John Velazquez, the Todd Pletcher-trained Carpe Diem confirmed his status as a top Kentucky Derby contender with the impressive front-running performance and stopped the teletimer in 1:49.77 on the fast track.
The major final prep race in the Road to the Kentucky Derby series offered a total of 170 points to the top four finishers (100-40-20-10 scale) and Carpe Diem is one of the leading point earners with a total of 164.
Runner-up Danzig Moon and third-placer Ocho Ocho Ocho likely secured a spot inside the top 20, increasing their ledgers to 45 and 30, respectively, but fourth-placer Frammento could find himself on the bubble if more than 20 horses are entered with a 20-point total.
Carpe Diem opened 2015 with a facile five-length win in the March 7 Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and will enter the Kentucky Derby with a 5-4-0-1 record.
By Giant’s Causeway, Carpe Diem will attempt to give Pletcher (Super Saver in 2010) and Velazquez (Animal Kingdom in 2012) their second Kentucky Derby win.
For more race details and background on Carpe Diem, see the recap at brisnet.com.