An overflow field is set for the Grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. It would be the third time in the history of the race -- and the first since 1974 -- it's had 14 starters.
The 1 1/8-mile Toyota Blue Grass offers 170 points toward qualification to this year’s race with 100 points going to the winner, 40 to second, 20 to third and 10 to fourth.
Holding a strong hand is trainer Mark Casse, who will send out Uncaptured, the 7-2 morning-line favorite, and Dynamic Sky.
A three-time stakes winner on Polytrack last summer at Woodbine and a two-time graded stakes winner at Churchill Downs to close 2012, Uncaptured enters off a second-place finish in the Grade III Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Racing Spiral Stakes on March 23.
Miguel Mena, who has ridden Uncaptured in his past three starts, has the mount Saturday and will break from post position seven.
Dynamic Sky, who will be ridden by Joel Rosario and break from post position one, finished second at the track last fall in the Grade I Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity. In three starts this year, all at Tampa Bay Downs, Dynamic Sky won the Pasco Stakes, finished second in the Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes and was fourth in the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby. Dynamic Sky is 10-1 on the morning line.
Rosario will be seeking his second Toyota Blue Grass Stakes victory. He rode Brilliant Speed to a narrow victory in 2011.
Co-second choices on the morning line at 4-1 are Java’s War, trained by Ken McPeek, and Rydilluc, trained by Gary Contessa.
Third in the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity last fall, Java’s War made his 2013 debut in the Tampa Bay Derby in which he finished second to Verrazano. Julien Leparoux has the assignment on Java’s War, who will attempt to give McPeek a second Toyota Blue Grass victory. Harlan’s Holiday won the 2002 renewal for McPeek. Java’s War will break from post position four.
Rydilluc is the winner of his past three starts, including the Grade III Palm Beach Stakes, and is trained by Gary Contessa. He'll break from post position 13 under Edgar Prado.
Prado is a three-time winner of the Toyota Blue Grass, having scored in 2002 with Harlan’s Holiday, Peace Rules in 2003 and Monba in 2008.
Fourth choice on the morning line is Palace Malice at 8-1.
Palace Malice, seeking to join 1990 winner Summer Squall as a Toyota Blue Grass victor for Dogwood, finished a troubled seventh in the Grade II Louisiana Derby in his most recent start. Garrett Gomez, who won the 2006 Blue Grass aboard Sinister Minister, has the call on Palace Malice and will exit post position five.
Two-time winner Todd Pletcher (Bandini in 2005 and Monba in 2008) trains Palace Malice and also will send out Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Charming Kitten.
Winner of the Kitten’s Joy Stakes at Gulfstream Park in January, Charming Kitten was second to Rydilluc in the Palm Beach in his most recent start. Charming Kitten will break from post position eight and be ridden by Joe Bravo.
In addition to McPeek and Pletcher, two other trainers will be trying to secure multiple victories in the race.
Two-time winner D. Wayne Lukas will send out Channel Isle. Seventh in the Spiral in his most recent start, Channel Isle will be ridden by Joe Rocco Jr., and break from post position six. Lukas won the Blue Grass in 1987 with War and in 2000 with High Yield.
Mike Maker, who sent out Stately Victor to post the biggest upset in Blue Grass history with an $82.20 payoff in 2010, will saddle Fear the Kitten. Rosie Napravnik has the return call on Fear the Kitten, who finished fifth in the Spiral in his most recent start. Fear the Kitten drew the outside post position 14.
In addition to Prado, Gomez and Rosario, Alan Garcia will be seeking another victory in the race. Pilot of Stately Victor in 2010, Garcia has the call on Tesseron. Trained by Josie Carroll, Tesseron is listed at 50-1 on the morning line and will break from post position nine.
Seven horses in the Toyota Blue Grass field – Balance the Books, My Name Is Michael, Palace Malice, Rydilluc, Uncaptured, Undrafted and West Hills Giant – are graduates of the Keeneland sales. Divine Ambition, an also-eligible that's cross-entered in the Grade I Arkansas Derby, is a Keeneland sales grad as well.
NBC will provide live, on-site coverage of the Toyota Blue Grass from 4:30-6 p.m. ET as part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series. Tom Hammond will host the 90-minute broadcast, featuring expert analysis from Randy Moss, Jerry Bailey, Kenny Rice and Donna Barton Brothers.
Horse Racing Radio Network, the Eclipse Award-winning broadcast organization, will provide live coverage of the Toyota Blue Grass, Jenny Wiley, Madison and Commonwealth Stakes from 4-7 p.m. ET. Fans can listen in on Sirius 93, WLXO 96.1 FM in Lexington and HRRN affiliates across the country.
The Blue Grass is scheduled to go off at 5:40 p.m. ET as the 10th race on Saturday’s 12-race program. First post time is 1:05 p.m. for the card that features four other graded stakes. Temperatures are expected to be in the upper 50s on Saturday.
A total of 19 horses have run in the Blue Grass and gone on to win the Kentucky Derby, the most recent being Street Sense in 2007.
Edited Keeneland release
Grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes
1 1/8 Mile
Post Time: 5:40 ET
|1||Dynamic Sky (ON)||10-1||J. Rosario||123||M. Casse|
|2||My Name Is Michael ()||15-1||S. Bridgmohan||123||W. Mott|
|3||Undrafted (KY)||10-1||C. Nakatani||123||W. Ward|
|4||Java's War (KY)||4-1||J. Leparoux||123||K. McPeek|
|5||Palace Malice (KY)||8-1||G. Gomez||123||T. Pletcher|
|6||Channel Isle (KY)||30-1||J. Rocco Jr.||123||D. Lukas|
|7||Uncaptured (ON)||7-2||M. Mena||123||M. Casse|
|8||Charming Kitten (KY)||10-1||J. Bravo||123||T. Pletcher|
|9||Tesseron (KY)||50-1||A. Garcia||123||J. Carroll|
|10||Footbridge (KY)||20-1||C. Lanerie||123||E. Harty|
|11||Balance the Books (KY)||15-1||J. Castellano||123||C. Brown|
|12||West Hills Giant (NY)||20-1||J. Espinoza||123||J. Terranova|
|13||Rydilluc (KY)||4-1||E. Prado||123||G. Contessa|
|14||Fear the Kitten (IL)||30-1||R. Napravnik||123||M. Maker|
|15||Divine Ambition||50-1||J. Graham||123||D. Miller|
All will run with Lasix
Equipment Changes: 2 - My Name Is Michael - Blinkers On
Owners: 1 - John C. Oxley ; 2 - Wachtel Stable (Adam Wachtel) and Barry Butzer ; 3 - Wes Welker ; 4 - Charles E. Fipke ; 5 - Dogwood Stable (W. Cothran Campbell) ; 6 - Calumet Farm (Brad Kelley) ; 7 - John C. Oxley ; 8 - Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey ; 9 - Donver Stable (Donna and Vern Dubinsky) ; 10 - Godolphin Racing, LLC, Lessee (Mohammed Al Maktoum, et al.) ; 11 - Klaravich Stables, Inc. (Seth Klarman) and William H. Lawrence ; 12 - Long Island Racing Stables, Sunrise Stables and Bentivegna, Gina ; 13 - Green, L., Massaro, J., Lerner, H., Shay, S. and Dellatore-Bobo, T. ; 14 - Frank D. Irvin ; 15 - Silverton Hill, LLC (Bonnie and Tommy Hamilton)
Breeders: 1 - Arosa Farms; 2 - Sun Valley Farm; 3 - Catesby W. Clay Investment LLC; 4 - Charles Fipke; 5 - W. S. Farish; 6 - Bluegrass Hall, LLC; 7 - William D. Graham; 8 - Kenneth L. Ramsey & Sarah K. Ramsey; 9 - Magalen O. Bryant; 10 - Darley; 11 - Scott C. Heider & Knowles Bloodstock,Inc.; 12 - Robert Castelli; 13 - Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings, Inc. &Gaines-Gentry Thoroughbreds, LLC; 14 - Kenneth L. Ramsey & Sarah K. Ramsey; 15 - Shelby Lane Farm & Divine Park Syndicate