No decision has been made on whether Mafaaz will be pointed toward the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Some thought General Quarters' Sam F. Davis (gr. III) win two starts back was a fluke. But the son of Sky Mesa proved them wrong by powering to a 1 1/2-length victory in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) on April 11 at Keeneland, and he will now head to next month's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) as a legitimate contender.
Jason, Evan, and the Wizard analyze the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) and the Arkansas Derby (gr. II). Watch Video
Shadwell Stable's Mafaaz, who will make his U.S. debut in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) on April 11, visited the starting gate April 9 at Keeneland and then galloped a mile and a quarter under exercise rider Miguel Moya.
Hold Me Back was made the 3-1 morning-line favorite in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) on April 11 at Keeneland.
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.
When Charitable Man goes to post in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) on April 11, he will be making his first start since winning the Futurity (gr. II) at Belmont Park on Sept. 13.
Adele Dilschneider's Terrain put in his final major move for the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) by working five furlongs in 1:01 at Keeneland on April 4 with exercise rider Keith Harris up.
Peter Shoemark, racing office manager for John Gosden Racing, said that Kentucky Derby Challenge Stakes winner Mafaaz was scheduled to depart England early the morning of April 4 with a scheduled arrival in Wilmington, Del., at 9:55 a.m.
Lost in the overwhelming spectacle of the Kentucky Derby and the arduous road leading to Churchill Downs are the little-known ironies and twists of fate that get played out behind the scenes.
Sheikh Hamdan's Mafaaz held off a trio of horses at the wire to win the Kentucky Derby Challenge Stakes at England's Kempton Park March 18 and earned an automatic berth in the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) on May 2.
Other than creating an uproar when the 20th horse on the Kentucky Derby earnings list gets left out of the Derby field, Wednesday's Kentucky Derby Challenge Stakes at Kempton looks unlikely to offer much to the Run for the Roses, unless one of four or five horses can come away with an impressive win.
A maximum field of 14 has been entered for the inaugural running of the Kentucky Derby Challenge Stakes at England's Kempton Park racecourse on Wednesday March 18. The race offers an automatic berth in this year's May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) for the winner of the Challenge Stakes.
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