All eyes will be on Art Collector (Bernardini) as he looks to go four-for-four on the year and punch his ticket to Louisville in Sunday’s $200,000 Runhappy Ellis Park Derby.
After airing over subsequent GIII Indiana Derby hero Shared Sense (Street Sense) in an optional claimer at Churchill Downs June 13, the Bruce Lunsford homebred followed up with another impressive performance capturing Keeneland’s GII Toyota Blue Grass S. July 11, his second straight victory with a triple digit Beyer Speed Figure.
“I’m just hoping for a good clean trip more than anything,” trainer Tom Drury, Jr. said. “We want this race to be a stepping stone for the next one. I’d love to see him go down there and get a good, clean, easy trip wherever he may finish and then be able to move forward from that race.”
A full field will be standing in the way of the 4-5 morning-line favorite in the 1 1/8-mile contest, which offers GI Kentucky Derby qualifying points of 50-20-10-5.
Dean Martini (Cairo Prince), claimed by Tom Amoss for $50,000 three starts back in his maiden breaker at Churchill Downs in May, posted a breakthrough victory in the GIII Ohio Derby last time June 27.
The aforementioned Shared Sense, 6 1/2 lengths adrift Art Collector in Louisville, delivered as the 5-2 favorite with a three-length decision in Indiana last time. He will have to work out a trip from post 12, however.