Edmund Gann's Peace Rules, winner of the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) in his last start, was installed the 7-5 morning line favorite after drawing post two for Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.
Trained by Bobby Frankel, Peace Rules will face nine rivals in the nine-furlong race, one of three major Kentucky Derby (gr. I) preps to be run April 12. Edgar Prado, who was aboard the son of Jules at Fair Grounds, has been named to ride. Peace Rules was bred in Florida by Newchance Farm and is out of the Hold Your Peace mare Hold to Fashion.
Neither Gann or Frankel, who purchased Peace Rules privately earlier this year, attended the draw, which was held in the Keeneland sales pavillion Thursday. John Gasper, who often advises the Gann-Frankel duo on purchases, represented Peace Rules at the draw.
"We drew a good post--now we'll let Edgar do his job and we'll see what happens," Gasper said.
The 2-1 second choice set by lines maker Mike Battaglia is Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Badge of Silver, a runaway winner of the Feb. 16 Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds, but a disappointing sixth in the Louisiana Derby on March 9. Since that effort, the son of Silver Deputy has had throat surgery and is expected to run better than he did last time for trainer Ronny Werner.
"Those races were real close together," said Werner of Badge of Silver's three starts at Fair Grounds, which included an allowance win Jan. 23. "Now he's had plenty of time to recover and it looks like he's on his game."
Offlee Wild, who is also coming off a poor effort and an illness, drew post 3 and was made the 6-1 third choice. The son of Wild Again won the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream on Jan. 18, then was fourth in the Fountain of Youth (gr. I). He was later found to have a bacterial infection. He worked five furlongs in 1:03 2/5 on Tuesday for his return for trainer T.V. Smith.
"It's been a long pole getting him back, but he's at full strength and I think we'll see the real horse Saturday," Smith said.
Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), 3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles, $750,000
PP, Horse, Jockey, ML
1, Acceptable Venture, Craig Perret, 30-1
2, Peace Rules, Edgar Prado, 7-5
3, Offlee Wild, Pat Day, 6-1
4, Badge of Silver, Robby Albarado, 2-1
5, Crowned Dancer, Kent Desormeaux, 20-1
6, Great Notion, Larry Melancon, 15-1
7, Ten Cents a Shine, Mike Smith, 20-1
8, Lion Tamer, John Velazquez, 12-1
9, Brancusi, Tony Farina, 8-1
10, Lots of Sizzle, Jason Lumpkins, 30-1