Brancusi, a bay son of Deputy Commander, became a Kentucky Derby (gr. I) contender with a third-place finish in the Mar. 16 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II). He sat on a quick early pace that day and reluctantly relinquished the lead in deep stretch to eventual winner Buddy Gil and runner-up Atswhatimtalknbout. In order to take another step down the Triple Crown trail, Biancone said he wanted to see Brancusi finish in the top three of that 1 1/16-mile event."I think he's an improved horse now," Biancone said. "And we are hopeful he can continue in the right direction."Biancone is scheduled to leave for Kentucky Thursday morning to join half of his stable, which arrived at Keeneland in Lexington earlier this week. Brancusi, as well as graded stakes winners Zavata and Mayakovsky, will leave California to join their stablemates on Sunday. Biancone spent last summer in New York and will do so again this year before returning to Santa Anita in September for the winter months.
Michael Tabor's Blue Grass Stakes bound Brancusi, a strong third in the March 16 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II), had his first work since then on Wednesday morning. He went six furlongs in 1:12 3/5 handily over Santa Anita's fast main track. Tony Farina, named aboard the colt when he heads postward in the April 12 Blue Grass (gr. I) at Keeneland, was in the irons for Wednesday's drill, which was the third fastest of the 30 who went three-quarters of a mile on the day."It was nice and easy," trainer Patrick Biancone said. "He was very relaxed and it went just the way I wanted."