Blue Grass

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Pletcher Likes Big Brown, Colonel John

Pletcher Likes Big Brown, Colonel John

Trainer Todd Pletcher doesn't have the first, second, or third choice in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). In fact, his horses were assigned odds of 15-1 (Monba) and 20-1 (Cowboy Cal) on the morning line. So, after giving an update on the status of his runners, Pletcher was left to confirm Rick Dutrow Jr.'s confidence in Big Brown during a May 1 press conference at Churchill Downs.

Monba, Cowboy Cal Work at Keeneland

Monba, Cowboy Cal Work at Keeneland

Before the running of last year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Keeneland Race Course was overrun with trainers whose potential contenders were squeezing in final works prior to shipping up to Churchill Downs. This year, Todd Pletcher cut a lonely figure along the rail at the Lexington oval as he sent Behindatthebar to gallop and then watched Monba and Cowboy Cal complete their final preparations April 26.

Pletcher Duo One-Two in Blue Grass

Pletcher Duo One-Two in Blue Grass

Trainer Todd Pletcher had won just a single race at Keeneland going into the April 12 card. But he won again where it counted, and with Monba and Cowboy Cal finishing 1-2 in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), it looks like North America's leading trainer of 2007 will be headed to the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) after all.

Downey: Pyro, Visionaire Look Best

Downey: Pyro, Visionaire Look Best

For Keeneland regulars, Saturday will be one of those days, with temperatures in the low 50's, wind sweeping through the grandstand left-to-right, and a chance of rain. For the connections of Pyro, the mission is to avoid rain on their parade toward the first Saturday in May.

Pyro Schools at Keeneland

Pyro Schools at Keeneland

Winchell Thoroughbreds' Pyro, winner of the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) and the second choice at 9-2 in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) future wager pool number three, schooled in the paddock at Keeneland April 5

'Contender's Derby Hopes Down to Bluegrass

Thanks to what trainer John Ward terms "unfortunate circumstances," John Oxley's Strong Contender has but one pressure-packed race left for a potential trip to the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), and he'll need a top finish in the $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland April 15.

Big Numbers

By Evan I. Hammonds - There have been some gaudy numbers put up over the last couple of weekends by horses and humans alike. Some add spice to the coming Kentucky Derby (gr. I); some show a renewed vigor in the sport of Thoroughbred racing.

Wood Memorial Moved to Four Weeks Before Derby

The prep lineup for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) is continuing to change. The Florida Derby (gr. I) had previously been announced as moving to five weeks before the Derby. Now, the Wood Memorial (gr. I) is being moved from three weeks to four weeks out.

Blue Grass Dinner Quotes and Notes

The Keeneland Association honored its contestants for Saturday's running of the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) Thursday evening with a special dinner at the Keene Barn entertainment complex on the Keeneland grounds. The connections from most of the eight runners, Marylou Whitney Stable's Birdstone was scratched earlier in the day, were interviewed following the dinner, and following are some of the comments made by them.

Action This Day Set for Keeneland's Blue Grass

Juvenile champion Action This Day will make his longest excursion when he ships April 5 to Keeneland for the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) on April 10, but Richard Mandella does not anticipate any problems with his 3-year-old.

Lion Heart Works; Added to Blue Grass Lineup

Grade I winner Lion Heart will race next in the April 10 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland, trainer Patrick Biancone decided Monday, shortly after the chestnut son of Tale of the Cat worked five furlongs in 1:01 2/5 over Santa Anita's fast main track. Regular exercise rider Jean Claude was aboard for the move.

Peace Rules 7-5 Blue Grass Choice

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.

Harlan's Holiday Sent to Pletcher

After War Emblem, Wiseman's Ferry, Proud Citizen, and Perfect Drift exited a plane Wednesday morning that had carried them from Kentucky to New York for Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I), a surprise passenger walked off and was loaded into a van. His name: Harlan's Holiday.

Harlan's Holiday Leads Workouts

Several key players in this weekend's Triple Crown prep races had workouts Thursday morning. On Saturday, the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) will be run in Kentucky at Keeneland, the Wood Memorial (gr. I) will be contested at Aqueduct in New York, and the Arkansas Derby (gr. I) will close out the meet at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas.

NBC to Telecast Blue Grass Live

NBC Sports kicks off coverage of horseracing's 3-year-old picture Saturday with a 90-minute telecast of "NTRA's Road to the Kentucky Derby." The show will air from 4:30-6 p.m. (ET) and will feature live coverage of the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) from Keeneland.

Harlan's Holiday Breezes in :47.60

Starlight Stable's Harlan's Holiday, winner of the Florida Derby (gr. I), breezed four furlongs in :47.60 over a "sloppy" track in his final major training move before a scheduled run in Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.

Blue Grass Lures 102 Nominees

Almost every leading contender for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) is among the 102 3-year-olds nominated to the 78th running of the $750,000Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) to be run on Saturday, April 13 during Keeneland's spring meeting.

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