Pyro in Final Blue Grass Tuneup

Pyro in Final Blue Grass Tuneup
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Pyro works under the lights at Keeneland on April 7.

Edited Keeneland release

Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Louisiana Derby (gr. II) winner Pyro turned in his final major prep for Saturday’s $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) by working a half-mile in :50.60 early Monday morning at Keeneland. The Blue Grass is a major prep for the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), for which Pyro is the current favorite on most lists.

Ridden by Dominic Terry, Pyro was clocked in :23.80 for the last quarter-mile in the solo work.

Trained by Steve Asmussen, Pyro has worked three times at Keeneland since arriving from New Orleans after his Louisiana Derby victory. His first breeze was a five-furlong work on March 24 in 1:02.40,  followed by a six-furlong work in company in 1:14.60 on March 31.

“It was smooth, a typical Asmussen blowout,” said Scott Blasi, assistant to Asmussen. Shaun Bridgmohan will ride on Saturday.

Other Blue Grass News:

Equine Prep Management’s Medjool worked five furlongs in 1:02.20 under Michael Baze at Santa Anita on Monday morning for trainer David Hofmans.

“It was a nice work,” Hofmans said. “He will ship there on Wednesday.”

A son of 2001 Kentucky Derby (gr. I)  winner Monarchos, Medjool has compiled a record of 7-1-3-2 with earnings of  $110,460 that is highlighted by a third-place finish in the Lane’s End (gr. II) at Turfway Park on March 22.

Trainer Barclay Tagg will breeze both Big Truck and Elysium Fields four furlongs on Tuesday morning at Keeneland. He reported that he is considering Big Truck, winner of the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III), for Saturday’s Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I). Elysium Fields, second in the Fountain of Youth (gr. II) but a disappointing 11th in the Florida Derby (gr. I), may run in Keeneland’s Coolmore Lexington (gr. II) on April 19.

“That’s the way I’m leaning right now, but nothing’s set in stone yet,” he laughed.

Bear Stables’ Kentucky Bear walked the shedrow at Barn 22  Monday morning, a day after working five furlongs in 1:01.80 under Toyota Blue Grass rider Jamie Theriot.

Cassie Garcia, who has been overseeing Kentucky Bear’s preparations here since arriving last week, said that trainer Reade Baker was scheduled to be at the barn Tuesday morning.

Briarwood Stable’s Miner’s Claim returned to the track to gallop a little more than a mile with exercise rider Jason Hoyte up. The Mineshaft colt had worked five furlongs in 1:01.20 on Saturday.

With only three starts, Miner’s Claim will be one of the more lightly raced entrants in the Toyota Blue Grass. The Mark Casse trainee ran twice in October and November at Woodbine and did not reappear at the races until the March 22 Rushaway Stakes at Turfway Park.

“The layoff was by design,” Casse said. “He actually won the prep for the Display (Stakes) but we opted not to go there because we didn’t want to run him too much. He is a big, tall, light-framed horse.”

Patrick Husbands has the riding assignment  Saturday.

Team Valor International and Vision Racing’s Visionaire jogged about 1 ½ miles with Ray Handal aboard.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Cowboy Cal and Monba both walked the shedrow a day after each worked four furlongs. Monba also is a possibility for the Coolmore Lexington. Both colts are scheduled to gallop on Wednesday.

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