Consolidator hopes to return to the scene of last fall's Lane's End Breeders' Futurity win with a victory in Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes.

Consolidator hopes to return to the scene of last fall's Lane's End Breeders' Futurity win with a victory in Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Consolidator Sharp, Ready for Blue Grass

(from Churchill Downs notes)
Robert and Beverly Lewis' Consolidator sparkled in a swift five furlong breeze Sunday at Churchill Downs that marked his final major prep for Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.

The son of Storm Cat covered the distance for four-time Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas in :59 3/5. The move over a "fast" track tied as the second fastest of 20 at the distance.

"We didn't want a lot out of the work because we're right on top of this thing," said Lukas. "We had an awfully good work last week, so this one was just a matter of tuning it a little bit. I'm really comfortable with him. I think he gets over this racetrack well and, hopefully, he'll carry his form from last year at Keeneland back to the Blue Grass Stakes this year."

Consolidator captured the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. I) last fall.

Consolidator finished last in a four-horse field in his 3-year-old debut in the seven-furlong San Vicente (gr. II) on Feb. 13 at Santa Anita, but rebounded to dominate by 6 ½ lengths in Santa Anita's San Felipe on March 19, reestablishing his credentials as a major contender for Kentucky Derby 131.

Lukas said the colt came out of a fourth-place finish to Wilko in last fall's Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) with a quarter-crack and he treated Consolidator gently over the winter.

"I did a bad job and babied him through the spring a little bit, thinking that he was a little bit delicate and he's not," said Lukas. "We finally got him squared away in the last race, and I thought that was the turning point, maybe, to push us forward this spring."

Lukas is looking for a big effort from Consolidator in the Toyota Blue Grass, but he acknowledges that a list of likely starters that includes Sun King, High Limit, Bandini, and Closing Argument will offer a strong test for his young star.

"It'll definitely be one of the definitive races," said Lukas. "We're starting to sort them out a little bit now, and the pretenders are dropping by the wayside fast. I feel comfortable, although I think the Blue Grass is going to be a race that will probably establish the horses at the top end of this thing because it's one of the definitive preps."

Lukas said that his other Kentucky Derby hopeful, the Lewis-owned Going Wild, remains on the Derby trail despite a last place finish behind Bellamy Road in Saturday's Wood Memorial (gr. I) at Aqueduct.

"It was just too bad to believe," said Lukas. "He didn't warm up with any enthusiasm. He was listless in the post parade and everything, so I'm just going to throw it out. I know he's a better horse than that, and he's had a very good spring. He's a very, very good horse, and it didn't turn out well yesterday; but it's four weeks to the Derby, and I think it's fixable."