Toyota Blue Grass S. (gr. I)

(gr. I , 9f ,)

MONBA (GR/RO h, 123 lb) $465,000
Maria's Mon —Hamba , by Easy Goer
B—Jamm Ltd., KY.; O—Starlight Racing; T—Todd A. Pletcher

Cowboy Cal (DK B/ h, 123 lb) $150,000
Giant's Causeway —Texas Tammy , by Seeking the Gold
B—Stonerside Stable, KY.; O—Stonerside Stable; T—Todd A. Pletcher

Kentucky Bear (CH h, 123 lb) $75,000
Mr. Greeley —Tate , by Afleet
B—Alexander Valley Breeders, KY.; O—Bear Stables, Ltd.; T—Reade Baker

Margins: neck, 1¼, 1. Others: Stevil 123($37,500) , Visionaire 123($22,500) , Miner's Claim 123 , Halo Najib 123 , Medjool 123 , Cool Coal Man 123 , Pyro 123 , Big Truck 123 , Stone Bird 123 . Winning Jockey, Edgar S. Prado.

I) picture in a big way with a clutch victory in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland April 12. One of only two runners sporting an earlier win over the Polytrack surface, Monba battled with Cowboy Cal in deep stretch to win by a neck.

A big thing in MonbaÕs favor going into the May 3 Run for the Roses is that the coltÕs sire, MariaÕs Mon, has proved capable of siring a Derby winner. MariaÕs Mon sired 2001 winner Monarchos from his first crop.

MariaÕs Mon also was represented in this yearÕs Blue Grass by another son, Stevil, who ran fourth.

Monba was hardly on the radar screen leading up to the Blue Grass. He finished last of 12 in the Feb. 24 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park in his only other start this year. At 2, his record was promising. He won his first two starts and then ran a close fourth in the CashCall Futurity (gr. I) at Hollywood Park.

On the 2007 Experimental Free Handicap for males, Monba was weighted at 113 pounds, 14 pounds below champion and top weight War Pass and seven pounds below Pyro, who finished 10th as the even-money favorite in the Blue Grass.

Monba is owned by Jack and Laurie WolfÕs Starlight Stable in partnership with Donald J. Lucarelli and Paul Saylor. Starlight and Saylor, in partnership with Johns Martin, raced multiple champion and 2004 BreedersÕ Cup Distaff Ð Presented by Nextel (gr. I) winner Ashado, plus additional grade I winner Purge. Starlight and Lucarelli together campaigned 2007 multiple grade I winner Octave. Saylor raced 2006 champion older female Fleet Indian.

As successful as they have been, Starlight, Lucarelli, and Saylor are looking for their first Kentucky Derby winner. In 2006, their Keyed Entry ran unplaced.

Starlight raced two earlier Derby contestants, including HarlanÕs Holiday, who was unplaced as the favorite in 2002. Last year, Sam P. ran unplaced for Starlight and Lucarelli.

Monba was bred in Kentucky by Mill Ridge Farm and Audrey OttoÕs Jamm. Alice Chandler and her husband, Dr. John Chandler, own Mill Ridge near Lexington. Monba was bought by Barry Berkelhammer, agent, for $200,000 at the 2006 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga August yearling sale. Mill Ridge Sales consigned as agent.

Monba, who is one of five winners for his dam, Hamba, traces in female family to champion Alcibiades. Alice ChandlerÕs father, Hal Price Headley, bred and raced Alcibiades, the champion 2-year-old filly of 1929 and a co-champion filly at 3.

Hamba foaled a HarlanÕs Holiday colt Feb. 26. She has been bred to Discreet Cat.

Deceased MariaÕs Mon is represented by 36 stakes winners, including additional 2008 added-money winners Wait a While (gr. IIT), Monzante, and Sky Mom. MariaÕs Mon stood at Josephine AbercrombieÕs Pin Oak Stud near Versailles, Ky., prior to his death last September. He was euthanized because of complication from laminitis.ÑD.S.