West Point Thoroughbreds’ King Congie put in his final major work for the April 16 Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) at Keeneland by working five furlongs on the main track in 1:00 3/5 April 11.
Working on his own and with jockey Rajiv Maragh up, King Congie reeled off fractions of :12.80, :24.60, :36.20, and :48.80, and galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.20.
“Everything went according to plan,” Maragh told Keeneland officials. “He seemed like he handled the track fine.”
The Toyota Blue Grass will mark the first race on Polytrack for King Congie, who won his first two starts on turf and was disqualified out of a third victory in his most recent start in the Feb. 6 Hallandale Beach at Gulfstream Park.
The April 11 work also reunited Maragh with King Congie, whom he last rode six months ago under different circumstances than the duo will face April 16. The October race was a 5 1/2 furlong sprint on dirt.
King Congie was being pointed to the Vinery Racing Spiral (gr. III) March 26 at Turfway Park, but never made the race.
“He had a strained hind muscle that we noticed the day before the race,” Terry Finley, president of West Point Thoroughbreds, told Keeneland officials. “We thought he would run well there. After that, our options were the Blue Grass or the (Coolmore) Lexington (gr. III, April 23), but the Blue Grass is $750,000.”
King Congie has no graded stakes earnings and the $450,000 winner’s check of the Blue Grass would put him in the starting gate for the May 7 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). First place in the $200,000 Coolmore Lexington would be worth $120,000.
King Congie is trained by Tom Albertrani, who had another potential Blue Grass starter work the morning of April 11 in Brilliant Speed. Owned by the Live Oak Plantation, Brilliant Speed worked a half-mile in :51 over a fast track at Palm Meadows in Florida.
In other Blue Grass news, Gaillardia Racing’s Wilkinson, sixth in his most recent start in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II), worked five furlongs in 1:01 2/5 over a fast track at Churchill Downs for trainer Neil Howard.
A late addition to the prospective Toyota Blue Grass field is Clarke Lane, owned by IEAH Stables and the Pegasus Holding Group. Trained by Simon Callaghan, Clarke Lane was a fast-closing second in his United States debut at Santa Anita April 3. The son of Giant's Causeway raced in England as a 2-year-old. Clarke Lane is scheduled to arrive at Keeneland April 12.