(Edited Keeneland press release)
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.
The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee picked up some unexpected company at the head of the lane when he found himself beside another worker. He finished his final quarter mile in :23.60, according to Keeneland clockers, who had Charitable Man galloping out six furlongs in 1:13.40.
“He did it nice and easy and was very relaxed when he came up on the other horse,” said Neal McLaughlin, assistant to his brother. “We are very happy with the work.”
Charitable Man, who has not started since winning the grade II Futurity at Belmont Park last September because of a saucer fracture of a shin, will be ridden in the April 11 Blue Grass by Alan Garcia. The jockey has been aboard for Charitable Man’s two victories.
WinStar Farm’s Lane’s End (gr. II) winner Hold Me Back, with Kent Desormeaux aboard, worked five furlongs April 5 at Keeneland in preparation for the Toyota Blue Grass.
Working in company with Emma’s Posse, ridden by Scotty Leleux, Hold Me Back drew away easily from his stablemate and was timed in 1:00.40.
“It was good, a nice, easy move,” said trainer Bill Mott. “He went in a minute and change, and did it very easily.”
Hold Me Back’s work also pleased Elliott Walden, WinStar’s vice president and racing manager, who watched the work with Doug Cauthen, the farm’s president and CEO. Walden said the prestige of the Toyota Blue Grass was one factor that helped the WinStar team decide to run Hold Me Back in the race.
“We’ve always wanted to win it, and we felt like we had a very good chance,” Walden said.
Walden’s opinion is backed with experience. The former trainer is the fourth-leading trainer in Keeneland history by stakes wins with 22, recorded from 1991-2004. In 1999, Walden won the Toyota Blue Grass with Menifee.
Hold Me Back is on the verge of becoming only the second Toyota Blue Grass starter for Mott, who won the race in 1984 with Taylor’s Special. Mott has won a total of 30 stakes at Keeneland, most recently with Stormalory in the Central Bank Transylvania (gr. III) April 3, which was the opening day of track’s spring meeting.