Most of the Blue Grass field needs a win to make the Derby; can Crimson China do it?
The evolution of the Grade I Toyota Blue Grass has resulted in quite a few turf horses coming this year, something that surely wasn't expected back when Keeneland switched from dirt to Polytrack.
On paper, a decent case can be made for all dozen 3-year-olds entered in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), possibly opening the door for yet another outsider to jump into the Triple Crown mix.
To celebrate the arrival of the recently retired grade II winner Ball Four at Old Friends Thoroughbred retirement center near Georgetown, Ky., the 10-year-old son of Grand Slam will make an appearance at Keeneland April 16.
Thoroughbred racing returns to Keeneland April 8, the official start of the track's 75th anniversary celebration.
Owner Ken Ramsey was optimistic, but also realistic about Pleasant Prince's chances to pull an upset in the May 15 Preaknesss Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico.
PORTER ON PEDIGREES, by Alan Porter
The first grade I winner sired by Ghostzapper - whose own pedigree is free of five-generation duplicated bloodlines - has an inbreeding pattern to the closely-inbred In Reality.
Evan Hammonds recaps of the last two major preps on the Kentucky Derby trail: the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes and the Arkansas Derby. Presented by Taylor Made Stallions. Watch Video
Stately Victor won the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at 40-1, and now the Mike Maker-trainee is headed to the Kentucky Derby. View Profile
Stately Victor, the longest shot on the board at 40-1, roared past Paddy O'Prado in the stretch to record a shocking win in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) April 10 at Keeneland.
Citing "human error," Keeneland announced late April 9 that the pool for the Maker's Mark/Toyota Blue Grass Stakes double wager did not close at the proper time, inadvertently allowing additional wagers into the pool.
This weekend offers the last 2 major Derby preps...Who will make the graded earnings cut and who won't? Read Blog
Jason, Tom, and James Scully of twinspires.com preview the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) and the Arkansas Derby (gr. I). Watch Video
Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland should be one of the more intriguing Derby preps of the year.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Pleasant Prince, runner-up to Ice Box in the Florida Derby at 29-1 odds, was made the slight 3-1 favorite among nine 3-year-olds entered in the April 10 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.
Drosselmeyer, who ran a solid third in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) March 27 but is likely still short on graded earnings to get into the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), could take one more shot at getting to the Big Dance
Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) winner Odysseus will likely make his final start in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) April 10 at Keeneland, owner Satish Sanan said March 26.
HRTV's weekly series analyzing the pursuit of the Triple Crown. This week's edition includes a preview of the Coolmore Lexington, and recaps of the Arkansas Derby and Blue Grass Stakes.
Like all quarters, General Quarters is a two-sided coin. So far, it's only come up heads, with the face of Tom McCarthy and his Cinderella story receiving all the press. But a flip of the coin to the tails side will reveal the faded and forgotten face of Mark Miller.
The connections of favored Hold Me Back were gracious in defeat following the $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland April 11 and looking forward to running their colt next in the Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I) in three weeks. The 3-year-old son of Giant's Causeway finished second, 1 1/2 lengths behind the winning longshot, General Quarters, while carrying the colors of Bill Casner's and Kenny Troutt's WinStar Farm, which bred the colt in partnership with Haras Santa Maria de Araras.
HRTV's weekly series analyzing the pursuit of the Triple Crown. This week's edition includes previews of the Arkansas Derby and Blues Grass Stakes, and recaps of the Wood Memorial, Santa Anita Derby, and Illinois Derby.
Triple Crown Talk blog, with host Jason Shandler, analyzes the Blue Grass and the Arkansas Derby. Plus, join Jason for a live chat at noon Eastern on April 11.
Jason, Evan, and the Wizard analyze the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) and the Arkansas Derby (gr. II). Watch Video
At Keeneland, it's often worthwhile to back those with Storm Cat in their pedigree, so Hold Me Back is in focus for the Grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes.
WinStar Farm's Hold Me Back, winner of the Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park, was installed as the moderate 3-1 morning-line favorite when 11 horses were entered for the April 11 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.
Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren Jr.'s undefeated Charitable Man completed his major work for the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) April 11 by working five furlongs in :59.60 under exercise rider Pat Correa April 5 at Keeneland in Lexington.
Stevil has not won a race since his maiden score at Belmont in October of 2007, but trainer Nick Zito has the grey son of Maria's Mon on track for a start in the May 17 Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Four new names entered the fray that's called the Road to the Kentucky Derby on Saturday with wins and placings in the grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes and grade II Arkansas Derby. And with their good fortune, the dreams of others were dampened if not outright doused.
The Blue Grass Stakes News Minute plus interviews from the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) dinner held on April 10, 2008. Includes interviews with Michael Matz, trainer of Visionaire, Edgar Prado, jockey for Monba, Robert LaPenta, owner of Cool Coal Man and Stevil and more.
Robert LaPenta jokingly discusses his Blue Grass Stakes strategy during a preview dinner at Keeneland April 10.
There are two ways of looking at Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I)- either as a rich workout for the first Saturday in May for Pyro, Cool Coal Man, Visionaire, Big Truck, and Halo Najib, who all have sufficient earnings, or as a final, desperate attempt to sneak into the Derby field by utilizing the often dirt form-challenged Polytrack.
Trainer Todd Pletcher was at Keeneland April 6 for the first time during the spring meet to oversee his horses stabled here, including the 3-year-olds Cowboy Cal and Monba. Both colts worked before sunrise, Monba in company with Ready's Image at about 6:15 a.m., and Cowboy Cal some 45 minutes later.
"NTRA Racing to the Kentucky Derby" will air on the ESPN networks beginning March 22 as the racing industry counts down to the 2008 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Jan. 10.
Keeneland has cataloged 2,547 horses for its 2008 January horses of all ages sale to be held Jan. 7-13, the sale company announced Nov. 21.
War, who won the 1987 Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) following the disqualification of Alysheba, was euthanized in August at Dr. Pamela Barlow's Wandering Farm near Bowie, Texas, because of complications from arthritis.
James Tafel's champion colt Street Sense turned in his final serious Kentucky Derby workout Tuesday, April 24, going five furlongs in an impressive :59 over a fast track at Churchill Downs.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick - Conventional wisdom suggests front-running horses have a huge advantage if they are allowed to set the tortoise-like fractions established in this year's Blue Grass. But Polytrack has thrown conventional wisdom out the window.
Fifth Third Bank faces a possible contempt order in California on May 10 over an allegation that it violated a court-ordered agreement by asking Keeneland to withhold any purse money Great Hunter might earn in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I). The financial institution made the request to the track due to its claim of an interest in the colt.
Well, this is it, the final major Derby prep weekend. After this, there is only the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) for horses hoping to hop aboard at the last minute. All eyes now turn to Street Sense, who can emerge from the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) as a solid Derby favorite. But he has to get by Great Hunter first.
Great Hunter and Street Sense face each other for the third time in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes. Which one will come out on top? Or will either?
James Tafel's Street Sense, a major contender for the $2 million-guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) on May 5, tuned up for a run in Saturday's $750,000-added Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland with a five-furlong workout on Tuesday at Churchill Downs.
After the defection of Hard Spun, five horses remain as "probable" contenders for Saturday's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I), including Street Sense, Great Hunter, Zanjero, Dominican, and Teuflesberg. Starbase, from the stable of trainer D. Wayne Lukas, is also possible for the field.
The Horse Racing Radio Network will provide exclusive live coverage of Keeneland's feature throughout the spring meet.
Following the defection from the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) of Any Given Saturday, it now looks as if the 1 1/8-mile test at Keeneland also will lose Lane's End (gr. II) winner Hard Spun, who will either go straight to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. II) or point for the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) and Preakness (gr. I).
The principal parties involved in a legal dispute over star runner Great Hunter have agreed on terms that could prevent controversy over the colt's scheduled start in the April 14 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), an attorney involved in the matter said.
James Tafel's Street Sense, winner of the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and champion 2-year-old colt, and Elizabeth Valando's Nobiz Like Shobiz, who captured the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) in his season debut, lead a list of 179 3-year-olds nominated to Keeneland's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).
While some top 3-year-olds were preparing for Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Barbaro settled into Barn 25 at Keeneland for some quiet relaxation before shipping to Louisville, Ky., for the May 6 Kentucky Derby.
Bruce Lunsford and Lansdon Robbins III's First Samurai, winner via disqualification of the Fountain of Youth (gr. II) in his most recent start, continued his preparation for Keeneland's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) with a strong seven-furlong work Monday at Churchill Downs.
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.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick - The road to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) changes from time to time, and so do the roadmaps printed by the racetracks and used by owners and trainers to get their horses to Churchill Downs in optimum condition on the first Saturday in May.
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