Raise Cain Eyes Blue Grass, Mr. Swagger, Clear the Air Likely for Wood

Raise Cain | Sarah Andrew

Andrew Warren and Rania Warren's Raise Cain (Violence), who romped home in the Mar. 4 GIII Gotham S., will likely forego a return trip to Aqueduct and make his next start in the GI Toyota Blue Grass S. at Keeneland Apr. 8, according to trainer Ben Colebrook.

Raise Cain had his first work since the Gotham when going four furlongs in :49.00 (1/3) at Keeneland Mar. 22.

“He's been training great and put on weight,” said Colebrook. “He'll breeze again [Thursday] at Keeneland. I think he really gets it now and now he's confident and feeling good. I think he's sitting on a big race wherever we go. It's exciting.”

Colebrook continued, “I don't think the Blue Grass will be a full field and it's one of those things where if we can run in our own backyard, it will take a strong reason for us to go to the Wood. But, it could still happen if something changes with defections and it's still on our radar. We're taking it day by day.”

Two horses who finished behind Raise Cain with troubled trips in the Gotham are expected to line up fo rthe Apr. 8 GII Wood Memorial.

Victoria's Ranch's Mr. Swagger (Maclean's Music), sixth over a muddy and sealed main track in the Gotham, is expected to return to Aqueduct for the Wood.

A maiden winner in his 6 1/2-furlong debut at Aqueduct Jan. 28, the Juan Avila trainee was making just his second career start in the one-mile Gotham. He worked six furlongs in 1:19.47 (1/2) over a muddy Parx surface Saturday.

“He's perfect,” Avila said. “He went easy and strong and finished up very nice. We are ready for the Wood Memorial and I think he's ready for a nice race.”

Mr. Swagger, who added blinkers when exiting post three in the Gotham, was bumped at the break and prompted the pace from fourth position at the half-mile call, but failed to fire after saving ground through the turn.

“In the Gotham, I said to Carlos [Olivero] that I want to see Mr. Swagger be in last place, but he was much closer,” Avila said. “Hopefully, this time he can stay back.”

Avila said Mr. Swagger will keep the blinkers on for the Wood Memorial.

Also expected in the Wood Memorial line-up is Cypress Creek Equine's Clear the Air (Ransom the Moon), who maintained rail-skimming position from seventh in the Gotham before going four wide in upper stretch and checking around the three-sixteenths pole. He continued to find more down the lane and finished 10 3/4 lengths in arrears of the victorious Raise Cain.

“It wasn't really what we drew up on paper going into it,” trainer Will Walden admitted. “I know when you get a bunch of horses running around in the slop, it almost never goes according to plan. Raise Cain got some momentum. He went inside and we went outside. The hole we were going for closed at the three sixteenths. When you get fully stopped on a big horse, it can be hard to re-rally. But he started picking off horses and started to get going. But by that time, it was too late in the game. If he doesn't get stopped, I think he ends up second or third.”

A maiden winner going six furlongs at Turfway in January, Clear the Air was a troubled fourth in a one-mile optional claimer at Turfway Feb. 11 before his Gotham effort. He worked four furlongs in :48.00 (3/77) at Turfway Saturday.

“He's a big, long stretchy horse and he's very efficient,” Walden said. “The way he breezes and gallops out, he looks like a two-turn horse. He also did run two turns at Turfway going a mile. That was again a horrible trip. He never got out of cover until well inside the sixteenth pole. But the two turns that day never seemed to be an issue. He looked loaded the whole time.”

Walden said he expects to see continued improvement in his charge.

“He won't officially be a 3-year-old until May 5,” Walden said. “I've felt all along that this horse has all the talent in the world. I believe he has graded-stakes type of potential. I don't know exactly when the lightbulb will fully go off. He's still big and green, but if things go right for him, he can put it together. It wouldn't shock me if he went up there and ran really big.”

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