Ever since the switch to polytrack, Keeneland’s historic Kentucky Derby prep the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) has lost some of its luster. Street Sense did use the race as a steppingstone to his Derby victory in 2007 and several others have exited the race to run admirably three weeks later, however the Blue Grass has not featured more than one or two serious prospects since 2006.
2012’s running of the Blue Grass may buck the trend, if not simply offer more intrigue than any other recent edition. Hansen, the two-year-old Champion and possible Derby favorite is the likely headliner. He’ll go against other accomplished runners in Dullahan, who won the Grade 1 Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland; Drill, another Grade 1 winner who will try to reverse his bad fortune going two turns; Prospective, winner of the Tampa Bay Derby (G2); and Howe Great, an exciting Grade 3 winner on turf. Other probables include Holy Candy, Adirondack King, Ever So Lucky, Gung Ho, Politicallycorrect, and Raconteur.
While the Blue Grass is almost two weeks away, there are three major Derby preps on the immediate horizon this Saturday. The Santa Anita Derby (G1) is arguably the most key with top contenders Creative Cause, I’ll Have Another, and possibly Bodemeister. However, there is a good chance the latter will end up in the Arkansas Derby (G1) a week later. Bodemeister worked a supposedly impressive 6-furlongs at Santa Anita Monday// The Wood Memorial still looks to net graded winners Alpha and Gemologist on the entry sheet, along with My Adonis, The Lumber Guy, Tiger Walk, Casual Trick, and Street Life// The Illinois Derby, a race hardly anyone speaks of, is suddenly all the rage with trainers hoping for entry into the Kentucky Derby through the side door. It is reported that the list of hopefuls is as high as 20, with only 14 able to make the cut. High on the graded earnings list for the race are Longview Drive, who may not make the trip, and Hopeful (G1) winner Currency Swap, who finished 2nd in his three-year-old debut against Gemologist. After them, the earnings get slim with horses who finished 4th, 5th, and worse in graded stakes. A full list of probables can be seen in the article linked below.
More fallout from the Florida Derby with critical commentary on Julien Leparoux’s ride on Union Rags and a recent surge of Derby attention towards Take Charge Indy// Mark Valeski, who finished 2nd in the Louisiana Derby, apparently lost a shoe and is a little banged up from the race. Despite his questionable amount of graded earnings he will not race again before the Derby// It was announced Trinniberg, winner of the 7-furlong Swale (G2) will stick to sprinting in his next race, which is Saturday’s Bay Shore (G3) at Aqueduct. From there the plan is to bypass the Derby and point for the Preakness// New rankings were released below. Steve Haskin kept Union Rags in the #2 spot// more…
Keeneland Blue Grass beginning to take shape (Keeneland)
Wood Memorial probables line up (The Downey Profile)
Bodemeister drills rapid six panels (Bloodhorse)
Union Rags will be fine (ESPN)
Union Rags ride was costly in Fla Derby (NY Post)
After the Wire 4/2 [video] (Bloodhorse)
Liaison- SA- 6F- 1.10:80- H- 2/9
Bodemeister- SA- 6F- 1.10:40- H- 1/6
Sabercat- OP- 6F- 1.13:40- B- 2/3
Right to Vote PMM- 4F- 47:45- B- 1/15
Optimizer- OP- 6F- 1.12:60- B- 1/1
Prospective- CD- 5F- 1.01:20- B- 2/5
Haskin’s Derby Dozen 4/2 (Bloodhorse Blog)
Notes and bits from web and Twitter:
“Assistant trainer Norman Casse reports Prospective will target April 14 Toyota Blue Grass and not Saturday's Wood” - Derby Media via Twitter
“La Derby winner Hero of Order possible for Lexington and/or Preakness, owner/trainer Dorochenko says Monday morning”- Derby Media via Twitter
“Bodemeister worked super this morning 59.1 out in 123.1 Bejarano up.. He's ready!”- Zayat Stables via Twitter
“Mark Valeski cut/bruised hind heel besides throwing LF shoe in La Derby. Doing ok Mon. Won't hunt more GS earnings pre-Derby, JLJ says”- DRFHersh via Twitter