Tropical Park Derby (gr. IIIT) winner Cowboy Cal is being pointed to the April 12 Blue Grass (gr. I).

Tropical Park Derby (gr. IIIT) winner Cowboy Cal is being pointed to the April 12 Blue Grass (gr. I).

Jim Lisa

Pletcher Works Pair For Blue Grass

Cowboy Cal and Monba turn in works at Keeneland April 6

Edited Press Release

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 (VIDEO) and Monba (VIDEO). 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.

With exercise rider Patti Krotenko aboard, Monba worked four furlongs in :47.20, the same time as Ready’s Image, and both horses galloped out in :59. Krotenko returned aboard Cowboy Cal, who worked the same distance in :47.40 and galloped out in :59 3/5 and 1:13.

Pletcher explained how he was approaching the April 12 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), Keeneland’s premiere races for 3-year-olds.

“Our plan all along has been to run him in the Blue Grass,” said Pletcher about Cowboy Cal, a son of Giant's Causeway  who is a homebred racing for Stonerside Stable. Cowboy Cal opened his career on dirt, then made his next four starts on turf. He won the Tropical Park Derby (gr. I) Jan. 1 at Gulfstream Park, then ran second in the Hallandale Beach Stakes Feb. 16 in his most recent effort.

“Monba went well this morning, and he’s a possibility for the Blue Grass or the (Coolmore) Lexington (gr. II,  April 19),” Pletcher said about the son of Monarchos, who races for Starlight, Lucarelli, and Saylor. Monba won his career debut at Keeneland last October, then won a one-mile allowance at Churchill Downs. “Probably have to make a decision on Wednesday,” Pletcher added.

Horses will be entered in the Blue Grass April 9.

Pletcher said John Velazquez would ride Cowboy Cal in the Blue Grass. He has not decided who would ride Monba. Meanwhile, the next few weeks will go a long way in determining whether the Pletcher colts at Keeneland would appear in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

“It’s pivotal in terms of earnings and whether they run well enough to deserve a chance in the race,” he said.


Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Pyro, the probable favorite for the Blue Grass, is scheduled to work five furlongs April 7, according to Scott Blasi, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen. The work is scheduled for 6:15 a.m.

On April 6, Pyro took his usual route to the track with a walk through the paddock to the walking ring before a 1 ½-mile gallop under Dominic Terry.

Pyro had a paddock schooling session Saturday afternoon with the horses in the second race. Blasi reported that the pupil’s time in class “went exceptionally well.”

Shaun Bridgmohan, who has ridden Pyro in all six of his starts, is scheduled to have the riding assignment in the Blue Grass.


Trainer Mark Casse reported that Briarwood Stable’s Miner’s Claim came out of his April 5 work fine and was given an easy morning April 6. Miner’s Claim worked five furlongs in 1:01.20 in preparation for the Blue Grass, the 18th best of 42 at the distance.

Patrick Husbands, who has ridden Miner’s Claim in all three of his starts, has the call for the Blue Grass.