Trainer Mark Casse has four horses under consideration for next Saturday’s 95th running of the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G2), and all four put in half-mile works Saturday morning over a fast Keeneland main track.
First was Tracy Farmer’s Sir Winston. Fifth in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) in his most recent start, Sir Winston covered the half-mile in :49 while working in company with Alltheway to Cairo, a 3-year-old maiden. Fractions for Sir Winston were :12.80, :24.40 and out 5 furlongs in 1:03.20.
“I had him here last fall,” said David Carroll, Casse’s assistant at Keeneland who handled the trainer’s Fair Grounds string this winter. “He just got here two days ago and looks well.”
Next up was a new arrival in the barn, Hoffa’s Union. A 15½-length winner at Laurel in his lone start, Hoffa’s Union worked a half-mile in :48.60 in company with My Sixth Sense, a 3-year-old maiden winner. Fractions on the work were :12.60, :24.20 and out 5 furlongs in 1:01.60.
A private purchase, Hoffa’s Union also is nominated to the $200,000 Stonestreet Lexington (G3) to be run here April 13.
John Oxley’s Dream Maker, beaten favorite here last fall in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1), worked a best-of-48 half-mile in :46 out of the gate under Jack Gilligan. Fractions for Dream Maker were :11.80, :23, :34.40 and out 5 furlongs in :58.60.
“He’s got a lot of talent but his work in the mornings doesn’t translate to the afternoon,” Carroll said. “We broke him out of the gate today to sharpen him up.”
Completing the quartet was Gary Barber’s Our Braintrust, who worked a half-mile in :48 in company with the 4-year-old maiden winner Battle of Memphis (IRE). Fractions were :24.40, :48 and out 5 furlongs in 1:00.80.
Also working Saturday morning for the Casse barn was Conrad Farms’ champion female sprinter of 2018, Shamrock Rose.
Working in company with 3-year-old maiden winner Weabie, Shamrock Rose covered a half-mile in :48 in preparation for a start in next Saturday’s $300,000 Madison (G1) going 7 furlongs. Her first quarter-mile split was :24.60, and she galloped out 5 furlongs in 1:00.20.
“She looks great and we got her back here where she did so well last fall,” Carroll said of Shamrock Rose, who parlayed a victory in the Lexus Raven Run (G2) with a triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) to earn an Eclipse Award.
Shamrock Rose finished third in the Azeri (G2) at Oaklawn Park on March 16 going 1 1/16 miles.
“She is back to sprinting here and down there she got beat by two Grade 1 fillies (Midnight Bisou and Elate),” Carroll said.