Saturday’s Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland should be one of the more intriguing
No way we’re going to expound on the virtues of Interactif yet again. The “dirtly-bred” son of Broken Vow has been a favorite of ours for a long time and has resided in our Derby Dozen almost the entire year. The Blue Grass will tell whether or not he handles Polytrack, but that will have no bearing on how he does in the
Interactif, for the third time in his last four starts, drew the outside post, which again could put him on the muscle if he’s rushed out of the there, unless Pletcher decides to experiment for the Derby’s sake and have him drop back and make one late run. The last thing he needs in another
In any event, that’s not the main topic of this column. That will come soon enough, but there is one more diversion before we get there.
When it was decided to run Odysseus in the Blue Grass, it was basically nothing more than an alternative to training up to the
There are two or three in the Top 20 who could very well wind up defecting, and six others in the Top 20 are running in either the Blue Grass or Arkansas Derby (gr. I). A couple of those may exit the
The ones in question who are looking to whiz by Odysseus this weekend and burst into the Top 20 are Super Saver and Northern Giant (Arkansas Derby) and Pleasant Prince, Paddy O'Prado, and First Dude (Blue Grass). And then there are Drosselmeyer and
The obvious question now is what if Odysseus does not handle the Polytrack? Many of those who don’t handle the surface you can’t find with a telescope. So, what was once meant to be merely a tightener for the
Now for the main focus of the Blue Grass as pertaining to this column. One of the horses Odysseus had better be looking over his shoulder for is Paddy O'Prado.
It is our belief that this is an extremely talented and versatile horse who is improving at a rapid rate and is capable of just about anything on Saturday, including running off with the whole darn thing.
Trainer Dale Romans thought enough of him to run him March 6 in the Palm Beach Stakes (gr. IIIT) as a maiden. Although the son of El Prado had proven himself to be stone closer with a huge late kick, he was so good going into the Palm Beach he wound up battling on the front end all the way through solid fractions and still had plenty left for the stretch run, drawing clear to win by 2 1/2 lengths in 1:45.40 for the 1 1/8 miles. This was a strong performance by a horse who may very well be much more than just a classy turf horse. The only blot on his record was a terrible race in his debut in his only start on dirt. But that was at six furlongs and in the slop at Churchill Downs.
Paddy O’Prado’s broodmare sire, Prized, it should be remembered, did the unthinkable by winning the Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT) in his grass debut. On the dirt, he upset Sunday Silence in the 1 1/4-mile Swaps Stakes (gr. II) in a race where the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner had a four-length lead at the eighth pole.
So, it’s not going to matter where Paddy O’Prado is during the running of the Blue Grass. It’s only a question of whether he handles the Polytrack. If you want to go by works, he's had two five-furlong drills at Keeneland -- :59 3/5 (second fastest of 52) and a bullet :59 4/5...both breezing. He should be a decent price, although it wouldn’t be a surprise if he turned out to be the wiseguy horse. In any event, watch out for him. He could be extremely dangerous in here.
Here is a trivia question as a postscript. What 2-year-old stakes last year has a good chance of becoming the key race in regard to the Kentucky Derby? Here’s a hint: It’s more about who was entered than who actually ran.
Let’s go back to last year’s listed Pilgrim Stakes, scheduled for the turf at
This race is loaded with live horses, such as Aikenite and Pleasant Prince, both of whom should be coming late and would be solid additions to any trifecta boxes. Make Music For Me is a proven stakes horse on synthetic and grass and will represent
But despite the depth of the field and all the unknown factors, we’ll stick with Paddy O’Prado and Interactif. Aikenite, who was a fast-closing second in the Breeders’ Futurity (gr. I) at Keeneland, looks like a solid horse to throw in the trifectas.
We’d love to see Odysseus run big, because it would be a crime if he failed to make the
In the same vein, here’s hoping Aikenite, who already has enough earnings, runs well enough to get Cot Campbell and Dogwood Stable into the