A LIST OF TOYOTA BLUE GRASS (G1) CONTENDERS APPEARS AT THE END OF NOTES
NOBLE TUNE WORKS FOR TOYOTA BLUE GRASS
Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1) candidate Noble Tune worked five furlongs in 1:01.20 in company with Big Blue Kitten on Sunday.
Julien Leparoux was aboard Noble Tune, an Unbridled’s Song colt who was second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). Norberto Arroyo Jr. rode Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Big Blue Kitten, who is nominated to the Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) on Friday and the Ben Ali Stakes (G3) on April 21.
Clockers caught the pair in fractions of :13, :25.80, :37.40, 49.20 and galloping out in 1:14.20.
Noble Tune, who races for Martin S. Schwartz and breeder Dell Ridge Farm LLC, has made all four of his career starts on turf and won his lone race of 2013, an allowance race at Tampa Bay Downs on March 9. He is trained by Chad Brown, who is in New York, where he sent out Normandy Invasion to run second in the Wood Memorial Stakes (G1) yesterday at Aqueduct.
Another three-year-old colt trained by Brown, Balance the Books, worked four furlongs in 48.20. Winner of Keeneland’s Bourbon Stakes (G3) and the With Anticipation Stakes (G2) at Saratoga, the Lemon Drop Kid colt races for Klaravich Stables Inc. and William H. Lawrence.
In other Toyota Blue Grass news, Barry Butzer and Wachtel Stable’s My Name Is Michael worked a half-mile in :49 under Rodolphe Brisset, assistant to trainer Bill Mott. Shaun Bridgmohan is scheduled to ride the Macho Uno colt in the race. My Name Is Michael, a maiden winner at Woodbine, is coming off an eighth-place finish in the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Racing Spiral Stakes (G3) on March 23. …
Two probables for the race, Charles Fipke’s Java’s War and Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Charming Kitten, turned in Sunday works away from Keeneland.
Java’s War, second to the undefeated Verrazano in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) in his most recent start, worked five furlongs in 1:00.56 over a track labeled as good at Gulfstream Park. The move was the fastest of 13 at the distance. Trained by Ken McPeek, Java’s War is scheduled to ship to Keeneland on Monday.
Charming Kitten, runner-up to Rydilluc in the Palm Beach Stakes (G3) in his most recent start, worked a half-mile in :50.08 at Palm Meadows over a fast track for trainer Todd Pletcher. The move was the 25th fastest of 30 at the distance. …
Rydilluc, who worked seven furlongs on Keeneland’s main track in 1:28.60 on Saturday, came out of the breeze fine, according to trainer Gary Contessa, who said the colt would return to the track Monday morning. …
Uncaptured, who worked five furlongs at Keeneland in 1:01.40 on Saturday, was back on the track Sunday morning for some light exercise for trainer Mark Casse.
“He is excellent this morning,” Casse said. “Other horses are hard on themselves when they work, but he just lopes around there and I bring him back the next day.”
Casse also reported that stablemate Dynamic Sky, who worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 at Churchill Downs on Saturday, came out of the move fine and was scheduled to ship to Keeneland later Sunday and would be on the track Monday morning.
Dropping out of Toyota Blue Grass consideration was Falling Sky, owned by Newtown Anner Stud, James Covello and Joseph Bulger.
Falling Sky, winner of the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) and most recently third in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2), breezed five furlongs in :59.60 over a fast track at Churchill Downs for trainer John Terranova.
“He worked great and he’s going to go to the Arkansas Derby (GI),” Terranova told the Churchill Downs communications department. “(The Arkansas Derby) was our original thought with this horse and then we tossed around the idea of the Blue Grass, but I almost don’t want to switch surfaces with him at this point. I think he’d handle it fine, but I think the Arkansas Derby makes a lot of sense.”
Terranova still has to make a decision regarding Gotham Stakes (G3) runner-up West Hills Giant, owned by Long Island Racing Stables, Sunrise Stables and Gina Bentivegna.
“He’s breezing tomorrow (Monday) at Belmont and then there’s a good chance he’ll come to the Blue Grass or (Coolmore) Lexington (on April 20),” Terranova said. “We’ll make a decision tomorrow.”
CENTRAL BANK ASHLAND WINNER EMOLLIENT HELPS JUDDMONTE TO UNIQUE DOUBLE
In less than an hour Saturday, two three-year-old fillies owned by Juddmonte Farms and trained by Bill Mott won graded stakes and secured enough points to compete in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) on May 3 at Churchill Downs. The first was Close Hatches, who won the Gazelle Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct. The second was homebred Emollient, who won Keeneland’s Central Bank Ashland Stakes (G1) by nine lengths.
“Sometimes when you have horses in two big races like that and the first one wins, you think, ‘We’ve used up all of our luck there. That’s the end of it,’ ” said Garrett O’Rourke, who manages Juddmonte’s United States operation.
O’Rouke remembered another instance of similar Juddmonte success. In 1997, Ryafan won the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (G1) at Keeneland and Yashmak took the Flower Bowl Invitational Handicap (G1) at Belmont Park within 15 minutes.
Emollient, who was ridden by Mike Smith, scored in the Central Bank Ashland victory a week after she was fifth behind Dreaming of Julia in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2).
“As Mike said, when Bill makes a call like that, it’s a well-thought process,” O’Rouke said. “There were so many right reasons to do it even though it was an unusual move for him. Obviously, you’re not going to go against (Mott’s plan). It worked out.”
Mott’s Keeneland assistant, Rodolphe Brisset, said Emollient was well the morning after the Central Bank Ashland.
“She’s fine. She ate well,” he said. “She definitely deserves an easy week.”
Emollient became the fifth Grade 1 winner at Keeneland for former Juddmonte stallion Empire Maker. The others are three Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (G1) winners -- Mushka (2009), Acoma (2010) and In Lingerie (2012) -- and 2007 Darley Alcibiades Stakes (G1) winner Country Star.
In other Central Bank Ashland news, Dave Rock, assistant to trainer Graham Motion, said Tuttipaesi (IRE) and Kitten’s Point, the 2-3 finishers, came out of the race fine and that future plans were undetermined although the $150,000-added Edgewood on grass May 3 at Churchill Downs was a possibility for one of the runners.
Sixth-place finisher Nipissing came out of the race fine, according to trainer Rachel Halden. “Take away the winner and she didn’t get beat that far,” Halden said of Nipissing, who finished 2½ lengths behind runner-up Tuttipaesi.
Trainer Mark Casse reported that Spring Venture (eighth) and Spring in the Air (ninth) were fine Sunday morning.
“Spring Venture did not get away well and she does not like having all those horses around her,” Casse said. “She might run in something at Churchill Downs. We have no excuses for Spring in the Air. She will be pointed to the Woodbine Oaks (on June 9), but I am not sure how we are going to get there.”
Jack Sisterson, assistant to trainer Doug O’Neill, said 12th-place finisher Redressthebalance (IRE) “bled a little bit” and will get some time off.
HOWE GREAT’S SATURDAY VICTORY MAY OPEN DOOR TO WOODFORD RESERVE TURF CLASSIC
Team Valor International’s Howe Great came out of his Saturday allowance victory on the turf in good order, according to Dave Rock, assistant to trainer Graham Motion.
“I was pleasantly pleased with him, especially after his race the last time,” Rock said, referring to Howe Great’s seventh-place finish in the Canadian Turf Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park on February 23. “That was a good field he beat. The Woodford Reserve (Turf Classic, G1 at Churchill Downs on May 4) is a possibility.”
Howe Great won by a half-length over 36-1 longshot Middie, who got up in the final stride to nip Air Support by a nose for second. Also in the field were graded stakes winner Al Khali, who finished fifth, and Grade 1 winner Turallure, who was sixth.
“That could have easily been a Grade 2 race,” said Phil Oliver, trainer of Middie. “I was thinking of using the race as a prep for the (April 21) Ben Ali (G3), but now I don’t know. We will see how he is in the next couple of days. They went the last eighth in :11 and three and my horse was at least five lengths back, so he must have run his last eighth in :10 something.”
Trainer Shug McGaughey said he was pleased with Air Support’s effort in his 2013 debut and that the five-year-old came out of the race fine. Air Support’s next start has not been determined.
Stuart Janney III’s Data Link, winner of the 2012 Maker’s 46 Mile (G1), tuned up for a defense of that title by working a sharp half-mile over a firm Keeneland turf course in :48.20 on his own Sunday morning. Clockers recorded Data Link’s fractions as :12.80, :25.80, :37.40 and out five furlongs in 1:00.40 around the dogs. …
Also working on the turf in company were two standouts from trainer Chad Brown’s barn: Martin Schwartz’s Samitar (GB) and Bradley Thoroughbreds’ Watsdachances (IRE). The two were clocked in 1:02 for five furlongs, completing the first three furlongs in :39 and galloping out six furlongs in 1:14.80. Samitar, a four-year-old Group 1 winner in Europe and Grade 1 winner in the United States, is being pointed to Saturday’s Jenny Wiley (G1). The three-year-old Watsdachances is a likely starter for the Appalachian Presented by the Japan Racing Association on April 18.
Other Jenny Wiley probables working Sunday were Shadwell Stable’s Ausus, Phipps Stable’s Abaco and Hillsbrook Farms’ Hard Not to Like.
Ausus worked five furlongs on the turf in 1:01 with fractions of :12, :24.40, :37.40 and :49.80 with a gallop-out time of 1:14.80. Abaco worked a half-mile in company on the main track in :48.40, galloping out five furlongs in 1:01.40. Hard Not to Like, runner-up in the Central Bank Ashland Stakes (G1) in 2012, breezed a half-mile in :46.80 on the main track in company with Dancing to Town. Fractions for Hard Not to Like were :11.80, :23, :34.60 and out five furlongs in :59.80.
2013 TOYOTA BLUE GRASS (G1) CONTENDERS
LISTED IN ORDER OF PREFERENCE
The maximum number of starters for the Toyota Blue Grass will be limited to 14. In the event that more than 14 pass the entry box, the 14 starters will be determined at that time with preference given to graded stakes winners (in order 1-2-3), then highest earnings.
HORSE JOCKEY TRAINER
UNCAPTURED* M. Mena M. Casse/KEE 1
Last race: 2nd Spiral (G3) on 3/23 @ TP
Last work: 5F in 1:01.40 on 4/6 @ KEE
NOBLE TUNE* J. Castellano C. Brown/KEE 12
Last race: Won allowance on 3/9 @ TBD
Last work: 5F in 1:01.20 on 4/7 @ KEE
DYNAMIC SKY J. Rosario M. Casse/KEE 1
Last race: 4th Tampa Bay Derby (G2) on 3/9
Last work: 5F in 1:01.40 on 4/6 @ CD
WEST HILLS GIANT** J. Espinoza J. Terranova/BEL
Last race: 2nd Gotham (G3) on 3/2 @ Aqu
Last work: Works 4/8 @ BEL
JAVA’S WAR J. Leparoux K. McPeek/GP
Last race: 2nd Tampa Bay Derby (G2) on 3/9
Last work: 5F in 1:00.56 on 4/7 @ GP
Arrives KEE on 4/8
CHARMING KITTEN G. Gomez T. Pletcher/CD
Last race: 2nd Palm Beach (G3) on 3/3 @ GP
Last work: 4F in :50.08 @ Palm Meadows
Arrives CD on 4/8
RYDILLUC* E. Prado G. Contessa/KEE 30
Last race: Won Palm Beach (G3) on 3/3 @ GP
Last work: 7F in 1:28.60 on 4/6 @ KEE
FEAR THE KITTEN R. Napravnik M. Maker/CDT
Last race: 5th Spiral (G3) on 3/23 @ TP
Last work: 5F in 1:02.20 on 4/6 @ Trackside
PALACE MALICE* T. Pletcher/PM
Last race: 7th LA Derby (G2) on 3/30 @ FG
Arrives CD on 4/8
UNDRAFTED* W. Ward/KEE 47
Last race: 3rd Swale (G3) on 3/2 @ GP
Last work: 5F in 1:01.60 on 4/6 @ KEE
CHANNEL ISLE J. Rocco Jr. D.W. Lukas/CD
Last race: 7th Spiral (G3) on 3/23 @ TP
Last work: 5F in 1:00.60 on 4/4/@ CD
MY NAME IS MICHAEL* S. Bridgmohan B. Mott/KEE 25
Last race: 8th Spiral (G3) on 3/23 @ TP
Last work: 4F in :49 on 4/7 @ KEE
TESSERON J. Carroll/KEE 7
Last race: 4th OC on 2/23 @ GP
Last work: 6F in 1:16.20 on 4/3 @ KEE
DEWEY SQUARE C. Lanerie D. Romans/CD
Last race: 5th Palm Beach (G3) on 3/3 @ GP
Last work: 5F in 1:03 on 4/6 @ KEE
FOOTBRIDGE E. Harty/BHP
Last race: Won maiden on 3/17 @ SA
Last work: 6F in 1:13.20 on 4/2 @ BHP
Arrives KEE on 4/10
ETON BLUE N. Zito/PM
Last race: 5th Tampa Bay Derby (G2) on 3/9
Last work: 4F in :48.30 on 4/6 @ PM
Arrives KEE on 4/8
DEMONIC* ** J. Sadler/BHP
Last race: Won maiden on 1/13 @ SA
Last work: 7F in 1:27.60 on 4/6 @ BHP
*Indicates Keeneland sales graduates
** Possible contender