RYDILLUC TUNES UP FOR TOYOTA BLUE GRASS WITH SEVEN-FURLONG WORK
Palm Beach Stakes (G3) winner Rydilluc completed his major preparation for next Saturday’s Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1) by working seven furlongs in 1:28.40 on a cool, clear morning at Keeneland. Click here for work video.
With jockey Edgar Prado up, Rydilluc worked on his own and recorded fractions of :12.80, :25.80, :38.60, :51, 1:03.20 and 1:15.60 with a mile gallop-out time of 1:43.40.
“He handled the track good,” Prado said of Rydilluc, who never has raced on Polytrack but is undefeated in three starts on grass. “The trainer (Gary Contessa) is happy, I’m happy and the horse is happy and that is the most important thing.”
“He got a taste of two turns on the Polytrack,” Contessa said. “That’s what you want to see: a nice, steady work. You look at his works and you won’t see any half-miles in 46 (seconds).”
Contessa bought Rydilluc last May AT a two-year-old sale.
Leonard Green is the managing partner of the ownership group that includes Sean Shay, who was responsible naming the colt.
“In my partnerships, everybody has a job and it was Sean’s job to name the horse,” Contessa said. “So, he named him after three family members, Ryan, Dillon and Luke … so it is Ry-Dill-Luke.”
Contessa, who saddled 1991 Ashland winner Do It With Style, liked everything about the son of Medaglia d’Oro.
“I liked his stride, the way he moved,” Contessa said. “I look for horses that will go two turns and I like to see horses that gallop out strong.”
Rydilluc has justified Contessa’s confidence in him by reeling off three consecutive grass victories by a combined 13¾ lengths. The only blemish on Rydilluc’s record is a fifth-place finish in his debut on dirt.
Contessa does not think dirt will be a concern should Rydilluc move on to Churchill Downs for the 139th Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) on May 4.
“Let’s just say he can be very difficult in the paddock,” Contessa said. “He is very cool on the track, but he caught us off guard that day and basically left his race in the paddock (in his debut).”
Paddock schooling will be on the daily agenda this coming week for Rydilluc.
“He is going to school every day,” Contessa said. “We took him in there at noon yesterday and he was 90 percent better than he has ever been. Running where he is stabled might be a deal-maker for him, because in Florida we’d have to put him on a van to go to Gulfstream from Palm Meadows.”
Rydilluc has accumulated no points toward the Kentucky Derby and likely would need a top-two finish in the Toyota Blue Grass, which carries 100 points to the winner and 40 to the runner-up, to advance on to Louisville.
Should Rydilluc earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate, Contessa said the colt would be an early arrival in Louisville and become well acquainted with the Churchill Downs paddock as well.
UNCAPTURED WORKS IN COMPANY IN FINAL DRILL FOR TOYOTA BLUE GRASS
John Oxley’s Uncaptured worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 Saturday morning at Keeneland in his final major prep for next Saturday’s Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1). Click here for work video.
Working in company Steel Dust Dancer, a three-year-old maiden, Uncaptured started the work a couple of lengths behind his stablemate, drew even at the eighth pole and finished three lengths in front. Clockers caught the first three-eighths in :36.60.
Miguel Mena, who has ridden Uncaptured in his past three starts and is scheduled to have the mount in the Toyota Blue Grass, was aboard Saturday morning for the move that pleased trainer Mark Casse.
“It was a good work. I wanted him to go in around 1:01 and that was a nice horse he was working with,” Casse said. “He shut it down pretty quick after the work. A week before a race, I don’t want a huge workout and a big gallop out.
Winner of the Iroquois (G3) and Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) Stakes at Churchill Downs last fall, Uncaptured has accumulated 30 points toward the Kentucky Derby. A top-three finish in the Toyota Blue Grass likely would assure a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate.
“We know he likes Churchill Downs, so hopefully he runs well enough here to get us there,” Casse said of Uncaptured, a son of Lion Heart who finished second in the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Racing Spiral Stakes (G3) in his 2013 debut. “I thought his effort in the Spiral was tremendous.”
Casse has another probable Toyota Blue Grass runner for Oxley in Dynamic Sky, who worked five furlongs in company in 1:01.40 over a fast track at Churchill Downs this morning.
“Norman (Casse’s son and assistant trainer) said Dynamic Sky went extremely well this morning,” Casse said of the Sky Mesa colt who finished second here last fall in the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1). “He will come over to Keeneland maybe tomorrow and remain here and have some paddock schooling.”
Casse said Joel Rosario, who rode Dynamic Sky in his most recent start, would have the Toyota Blue Grass mount.
ROMANS SENDS TOYOTA BLUE GRASS HOPEFUL DEWEY SQUARE TO KEENELAND FOR WORK
Once again trainer Dale Romans shipped a contender from his Churchill Downs base to Keeneland to work a week before the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1). Last year, the horse was Donegal Racing’s Dullahan, who won the race by 1¼ lengths.
Romans’ candidate for the 2013 Toyota Blue Grass is Siena Farms LLC homebred Dewey Square, a Bernardini colt who was third behind Uncaptured in last year’s Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) and is coming off a fifth behind Rydilluc in the Palm Beach Stakes (G3). Both Uncaptured and Rydilluc are being pointed to the Toyota Blue Grass.
“If something works, we stick with it,” Romans, who received the 2012 Eclipse Award as outstanding trainer, said about the schedule.
With Tammy Fox aboard, Dewey Square worked five furlongs in 1:03. Clockers caught the colt’s first three furlongs in :38.20 with a six-furlong gallop-out time of 1:16.
“He got stronger as he got used to what he was running on, and he galloped out really strong,” Romans said. “It looked like he figured it out.”
Today could be a big day for Siena, the Paris, Kentucky, breeding operation that represents the partnership of Anthony R. Manganaro, Ignacio “Nacho” Patino and David Pope. Siena is racing homebred Private Ensign, also trained by Romans, in today’s Central Bank Ashland (G1). The farm bred Elnaawi, a Street Sense colt owned by Shadwell Stable in today’s Wood Memorial Stakes (G1) at Aqueduct.
UNDRAFTED WORKS FOR WARD IN PREPARATION FOR TOYOTA BLUE GRASS
Wes Welker’s Undrafted, who won his career debut at Keeneland a year ago, was the final candidate for Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1) to work here Saturday.
With Azael De Leon aboard, Undrafted worked five furlongs in 1:01.60 in company with the three-year-old filly Sunset Time.
“He looked good. He broke off about 10 lengths behind that filly and closed and met her there at the eighth pole and cruised on to the wire,” said trainer Wesley Ward, who was the leading trainer during Keeneland’s spring and fall meets last year.
A gelding by Purim, Undrafted was third in the Willard L. Proctor Memorial Stakes last June and won his final start of the season, an allowance race on the turf, at Gulfstream Park. This year at Gulfstream, he turned in thirds in the Gulfstream Park Derby, Hutcheson Stakes (G2) and Swale Stakes (G3).
“The question is how far he’s going to go, especially with the contention being so deep in a race like that,” Ward said about Undrafted’s chances in the Toyota Blue Grass. “But you kinda have to take a shot. I think this is the best time to do it.”
In other Toyota Blue Grass news, trainer Ken McPeek said he would wait a day to work Charles Fipke’s Java’s War at Gulfstream Park. “The track was muddy down there this morning, so we will try Sunday,” McPeek said of the runner-up in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2). Julien Leparoux is to ride Java’s War in the Toyota Blue Grass, McPeek said.
Frank Irvin’s Fear the Kitten, fifth in the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Racing Spiral Stakes (G3) at Turfway Park on March 23 in his most recent start, worked five furlongs in 1:02.20 over a fast track at the Trackside Training Center in Louisville. The move, for trainer Mike Maker, was the third fastest of seven at the distance. …
Working at Palm Meadows on Saturday morning was Marylou Whitney’s Eton Blue, who covered a half-mile in :48.30 on a fast track for trainer Nick Zito.
VIDEO INTERVIEWS WITH MOTION, CASSE ON CENTRAL BANK ASHLAND CONTENDERS
Broadcaster Tom Leach conducted interviews with trainers H. Graham Motion and Mark Casse regarding their Central Bank Ashland Stakes (G1) contenders. Click here to watch Motion talk about morning-line favorite Tuttipaesi (IRE). Click here for video of Casse speaking about Spring in the Air, winner of last fall’s Darley Alcibiades Stakes (G1) at Keeneland, and Spring Venture.
COOLMORE LEXINGTON ATTRACTS 65 NOMINATIONS
Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s Departing, third in last weekend’s Louisiana Derby (G2), plus Team Valor International’s Crop Report and Silverton Hill’s Divine Ambition, the 1-2 finishers in the Team Valor Rushaway Stakes at Turfway Park on March 23, are among a list of 65 three-year-olds nominated to the $200,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (G3) to be run April 20.
The Coolmore Lexington carries 34 points toward qualification to the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) to be run May 4 at Churchill Downs with 20 points going to the winner. The Coolmore Lexington is run at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.
The 32nd running of the Coolmore Lexington highlights the third week of the spring meet that features five stakes, four of them graded.
The 25th running of the $100,000 Appalachian Presented by the Japan Racing Association drew 51 nominations for the mile race on the turf for three-year-old fillies on Thursday, April 18.
Topping the nominations are Bradley Thoroughbreds’ Watsdachances (IRE), runner-up in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1); Bona Venture Stables’ Summer of Fun, who was third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf; and Besilu Stables’ Tapicat, winner of the Florida Oaks (G3) and undefeated in three turf starts.
Donver Stable’s Inglorious, winner of the 2011 Queen’s Plate, and Cheyenne Stables’ Mystical Star, runner-up in the Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (G1) here last fall, top a roster of 31 fillies and mares nominated to the 19th running of the $100,000 Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare (G3). Slated to be run Friday, April 19, the Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare is contested at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.
Holiday for Kitten, winner of the 2011 Giant’s Causeway Stakes and the 2012 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (G2) here, and Repole Stable’s consistent Stopshoppingmaria headline a list of 27 fillies and mares nominated to the 17th running of the $100,000 Giant’s Causeway at 5½ furlongs on the turf to be run April 20.
Defending champion Wise Dan tops a star-studded lineup of 35 nominations to the 83rd running of the $150,000 Ben Ali Stakes (G3) to be run at 1 1/8 miles on the main track on April 21. Owned by Morton Fink, Wise Dan is expected to run in Friday’s Maker’s 46 Mile (G1), but Fink also has nominated Successful Dan, Wise Dan’s older half-brother, to the Ben Ali.
Undefeated in four starts at Keeneland, Successful Dan is a multiple graded stakes winner. In addition to Wise Dan, four other Grade 1 winners are among the nominees: Magic City Thoroughbred Partners’ Golden Ticket, William S. Farish Jr.’s Pool Play, David Kenney and Triple B Farms’ Richard’s Kid and Chuck and Maribeth Sandford’s Take Charge Indy.
Mike Maker, who won the 2008 fall training title, was fast out of the gate Friday in winning the first two races with Awesome Flower ($3.40) and Starsilhoutte ($5.60). Both horses are owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, the leading owners at both 2012 meets. …
Wesley Ward, who won training titles at both 2012 meets, won the first two-year-old race of the meet when Sweet Emma Rose ($3) won the fourth race by nine lengths. …
Trainer Ashley Hillyard picked up her first Keeneland victory when Ghost Chapel ($20) won the 10th race by 3¼ lengths under Jesus Castanon. Hillyard, who also owns Ghost Chapel, had saddled only other starter previously at Keeneland