Ken and Sarah Ramsey aren’t sure Pleasant Prince has enough graded-stakes earnings to make the field for the May 1 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), so they plan to race the colt in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland April 10.
Pleasant Prince, trained by Wesley Ward, worked five furlongs on Keeneland’s Polytrack in a bullet :58.40 under jockey Julien Leparoux April 4.
“That was about as good as a horse can work,” Ward told Keeneland officials after the breeze, the fastest of 17 at the distance.
Pleasant Prince broke off about four lengths behind workmate Hunter’s Kitten and tracked that horse until just before the eighth- pole, when he easily breezed past. Keeneland clockers caught Pleasant Prince in fractions of :12, :23.20, :34.80, :46.20, out six furlongs in 1:11.60, and pulling up seven furlongs in 1:27.40.
“He went very nice and handled the track well,” said Leparoux, who will have the mount in the Blue Grass.
The plan was for Pleasant Prince to train up to the Kentucky Derby, but with $162,500 in graded-stakes earnings, he might not make the field. Pleasant Prince, by Indy King out of the Pleasant Tap mare Archduchess, missed winning the March 20 Florida Derby (gr. I) by a nose.
“Another inch in Florida and we wouldn’t be having this conversation,” Ramsey said. “But this looks like the right spot. It is three weeks before the Derby, and he ran well on this track last fall.”
Keeneland officials also said Sam-Son Farm’s Giant's Tomb wouldn’t be entered in the Blue Grass as planned.
In other news, Braly Family Trust’s Evening Jewel, winner of the April 3 Central Bank Ashland Stakes (gr. I), will return to her California base April 5 and probably return in a few weeks to prepare for the April 30 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), trainer Jim Cassidy said.