The first five finishers in yesterday’s $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) -- Dominican, Street Sense, Zanjero, Teuflesberg and Great Hunter -- are all, according to their connections, pointing toward a start in the May 5 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). Four of those five were separated by only a neck at the wire in yesterday’s race.
On Sunday, trainer Darrin Miller was still savoring Dominican’s upset win, and said he is “thinking” about the Kentucky Derby as the gelding’s next start. Dominican thrust himself into the Derby picture with his nose victory over heavily favored Street Sense.
“So far he looks great,” Miller said when asked how his horse came out of the Blue Grass. “He’s the same Dominican as he was before; he was very aggressive this morning.” Dominican was hand walked under the shedrow on Sunday.
Miller said he is undecided about when to ship Dominican to Churchill Downs since “he does so well” at Keeneland. The son of El Corredor who is owned by Silverton Hill, finished third to Tiz Wonderful and Any Given Saturday in last fall’s Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II) at Churchill.
Miller also is considering Sedgefield, fourth in the Central Bank Transylvania (gr. IIIT) on opening day, for the Derby. “I’m just going to train him like we’re going and see what happens,” he added.
Trainer Carl Nafzger reported that beaten favorite Street Sense jogged a mile over the Churchill Downs track Sunday morning. “Everything is good,” he said from his barn in Louisville.
“I told the track photographer he just took the picture at the wrong time,” Nafzger laughed, referring to the colt leading in the final strides.
Third-place finisher Zanjero came out of the Blue Grass “really well” according to Scott Blasi, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen. He said Zanjero, owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds, will make his next start in the Kentucky Derby.
Co-owner and trainer Jamie Sanders pronounced fourth-place finisher Teuflesberg as “very good” Sunday morning. The son of Johannesburg set a slow pace through much of the Blue Grass but drifted out in deep stretch and was overtaken at the end.
Though disappointed with the narrow loss, Sanders said she was pleased with Teuflesberg’s big effort, which reportedly gave the colt the graded stakes earnings needed to be competitive among the top 20 prospective Kentucky Derby contenders.
Second-choice Great Hunter finished fifth in the Blue Grass after jockey Corey Nakatani had to take up when Teuflesberg drifted out at the sixteenth pole.
“He’s happy. He came out good. He’s walking okay,” said trainer Doug O’Neill’s assistant, Sabas Rivera, about Great Hunter on Sunday morning. “We’ll just keep going.”