First Samurai Draws Post Position 5 as Blue Grass Favorite
"When we purchased this horse at Keeneland we bought him thinking he'd be a three-year-old, two-turn type horse," said Robbins."No one's going to have more fun than we are going to have," said Lunsford. "This horse's peak will either be this race or the next one."The 5-2 second choice is the Todd Pletcher-trained Bluegrass Cat, the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) runner-up will be ridden out of the second post position by regular rider John Velazquez. Elliott Walden, racing manager for WinStar Farm, which owns the bay son of Storm Cat--She's a Winner, (by A.P. Indy), said he had faith in two-time Eclipse Award-winning conditioner Pletcher, who trained runaway winner Bandini in last year's renewal."Todd did a great job of getting this horse ready," said Walden.Odds-maker Mike Battaglia made Strong Contender, who will break from post four under jockey Edgar Prado, the morning-line third choice. The John Oxley-owned son of Maria's Mon is trained by John Ward, connections that brought Monarchos , another son of Maria's Mon, into the winner's circle of the 2001 Kentucky Derby (gr. I)."We have a very finite target," said Ward, whose colt has just two career starts and was shut out of an overflow field in the March 25 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park and is in dire need of graded stakes earnings. "We have to be there."Trainer Patrick Biancone will send Sadler's Trick, owner of a maiden special-weight win at a mile on the Lane's End undercard. The colt will be ridden by Julien Leparoux, with the pair breaking from post eight.Asked about sending a maiden winner into a grade I race, Biancone said, "We have to take a shot...a big shot."Biancone wouldn't reveal Saturday's tactics for the son of Favorite Trick, saying he and Leparoux will "work out our strategy in French."The full field with post position, jockey assignment, and morning-line odds below:Toyota Blue Grass Stakes(gr. I), Keeneland Racecourse, Saturday, April 15, $750,000, 3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles, Appx. post time 5:22 p.m. EDT.
1 -- Little Cliff, Corey Nakatani, 10-1
2 -- Bluegrass Cat, John Velazquez, 5-2
3 -- Storm Treasure, Mark Guidry, 15-1
4 -- Strong Contender, Edgar Prado, 4-1
5 -- First Samurai, Rafael Bejarano, 8-5
6 -- Court Folly, Javier Castellano, 12-1
7 -- Sinister Minister, Garrett Gomez, 15-1
8 -- Sadler's Trick, Julien Leparoux, 15-1
9 -- Seaside Retreat, Patrick Husbands, 15-1
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