Jrita Young Thoroughbreds' Man in the Can (Can the Man) will be aimed at the July 11 GII Toyota Blue Grass S. at Keeneland following his allowance score as the 5-2 favorite at Churchill Friday (video).
“That sure was an impressive turn of foot,” trainer Ron Moquett said of his charge's 1 1/2-length victory in the nine-furlong event. “I wasn't expecting him to go off as that big of a favorite, but he ran against some stiff Arky-bred competition in his last couple of starts at Oaklawn. I think the bettors saw that before the race and that's why he ended up going off favorite. He definitely deserves a shot in the Blue Grass. There have been so many top Kentucky Derby contenders that have gone off the trail this week that it's really anyone's game.”
A debut winner at Remington Park last December, Man in the Can defeated fellow Arkasas-breds to win the six-furlong Rainbow S. Apr. 17 and the 1 1/16-mile Arkansas Breeders' Champions S. May 1.
The rescheduled Blue Grass will award the top four finishers 100-40-20-10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. Should Man in the Can qualify for the Sept. 5 GI Kentucky Derby, he would become the first Arkansas-bred to run in the race since Barbizon Streak, who finished 16th in 1971.
Bruce Lunsford's Art Collector (Bernardini) was another promising 3-year-old allowance winner at Churchill last week. The colt, an off-the-pace 2 3/4-length winner of a seven-furlong allowance in Louisville May 17, was a front-running 6 1/2-length victor going 1 1/16 miles Saturday (video).
“He's certainly getting better at the right time,” trainer Tommy Drury said. “That is as impressive as it gets to kick clear as he did. I asked Bruce to let us enjoy this one for a couple of days and then we'd get together and talk about our next options.”