James Tafel’s Street Sense, a major contender for the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and the reigning 2-year-old champion of American racing, tuned up for a scheduled run in next week’s $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland with a sizzling five-furlong workout of :58 2/5 on Wednesday at Churchill Downs.
The 3-year-old homebred son of Street Cry was under the guidance of jockey Calvin Borel, who was also in the saddle in November when Street Sense scored his record-breaking 10-length victory in the $2 million Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) over the same track. The Carl Nafzger-trained colt's stellar work came immediately after the mid-session training break for track maintenance. The track was rated “fast” at that point after being rated “good” earlier in the morning following overnight rains.
It was the first drill for Street Sense since he returned to his home track on Saturday. Nafzger said he was happy with the fast time, but was more impressed with the manner in which the colt accomplished it.
“The horse did it easy,” said Nafzger. “The main thing you want to look at in a :58-and-two work is how was horse – was he stressed when it was over? He wasn’t stressed. He was pricking his ears coming down the lane.”
“He was awesome,” said Borel. “The horse is just getting better and better. Carl’s got him on the right road and you just couldn’t ask for any better. He did it happy. He galloped out strong and I really didn’t squeeze no buttons or nothing – he was just there for me.”
Street Sense is coming off a victory in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) at Tampa Bay Downs, his first start since the Breeders’ Cup victory on Nov. 4. He defeated Any Given Saturday by a nose in that March 17 race.
The Tampa Bay Derby victory improved the career record of Street Sense to 3-1-2 in six races and boosted his earnings to $1,358,200. The Toyota Blue Grass is scheduled to be the final prep for Street Sense before Kentucky Derby 133 on May 5.
In the Blue Grass, Street Sense will once again meet J. Paul Reddam’s Great Hunter, who shipped from California to Keeneland to capture last fall’s Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity (gr. I). Street Sense finished third in the Lane’s End, but turned the tables on his rival in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, in which Greater Hunter ran third.
Great Hunter has not yet arrived at Keeneland.