Toyota Blue Grass S.

Preakness Contender Mugatu Brings Blue-Collar Stable To Classic Stage

When Mugatu (Blofeld) makes his way onto the track in the morning, it's hard to look away. The imposing chestnut colt with the unique blaze that spans across his forehead before trickling down to just above his nostrils has a presence that makes you pay attention. And when he moves across the track, it's easy to understand why he was the one that Dan Preiss sought out on the final day of the 2023 Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's Spring 2-Year-Olds in Training sale. After receiving a call from trainer Jeff...

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Sierra Leone, Catching Freedom, Tarifa Lead Derby, Oaks Workers

With less than two weeks to the first weekend in May, a gaggle of contenders for the GI Kentucky Derby and GI Kentucky Oaks took to racetracks across the country for some critical breezes Saturday morning. 'TDN Rising Star' Sierra Leone (Gun Runner) has remained at Keeneland since his slashing victory in the Apr. 6 GI Toyota Blue Grass S. and returned to the worktab for the first time on a chilly morning, breezing a half-mile in the company inside of recent Keeneland maiden winner White Palomino (Kitten's Joy) in...

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Sierra Leone Stamps His Authority On The Blue Grass

He wasn't the most cooperative at the stalls and he left himself plenty to do over a Keeneland main track that was playing kind to speed over the course of the afternoon, but 'TDN Rising Star' Sierra Leone (c, 3, Gun Runner--Heavenly Love, by Malibu Moon) saved his best for last and cemented his status as one of the top couple of contenders for the GI Kentucky Derby with a fast-finishing victory in the 100th running of the GI Toyota Blue Grass S. Saturday afternoon. The victory, on the back...

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Tapit Trice Outslugs Verifying In Toyota Blue Grass Thriller

Favored at 8-5 to build on a two-length victory in the GIII Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby three weeks ago, Whisper Hill Farm and Gainesway Stable's 'TDN Rising Star' Tapit Trice (Tapit) was made to work for it by a worthy adversary in the form of Verifying (Justify), but at the end of nine entertaining furlongs, they gray colt--picked up for $1.3 million just down the hill from the racing oval at the Keeneland sales pavilion some 19 months ago--outgamed last year's GI Champagne S. runner-up by a neck in...

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General Jim To Miss Fountain of Youth

General Jim (Into Mischief), third choice at 6-1 on the morning line for Saturday's GII Fountain of Youth S. at Gulfstream, will be scratched, reports trainer Shug McGaughey. The horse missed a day of training after developing a cough. "He ran a little temperature," McGaughey said.  "It went right down and he is doing fine but I didn't feel right running in this race." McGaughey said that the colt will remain on the Kentucky Derby trail and should be ready to go in another prep within a few weeks. "I...

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Classic Hopefuls Turn It Up a Notch

With two weeks remaining until the first weekend of May, several chief protagonists for the GI Kentucky Derby and GI Longines Kentucky Oaks turned in some key breezes in Kentucky and California. Jeff Drown's Zandon (Upstart), who cemented his spot in the Derby field with an eye-catching victory in the GI Toyota Blue Grass S. at Keeneland Apr. 9, has remained in Lexington to train up to the big race and went a half-mile in :48.60 (see below). The $170,000 Keeneland September graduate covered his opening furlong in :12.80, then...

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Zandon Further Flatters Remsen Form in Blue Grass

hiSure, horses like Go For Gin and Thunder Gulch parlayed victories in the GII Remsen S. at two into GI Kentucky Derby glory in 1994 and 1995, respectively, but there are few races over the last 30 years that have taken more of a beating than that late-season Aqueduct feature as a pointer to success in Louisville. Perhaps that theory is due for a rethink. In the space of about 30 minutes Saturday afternoon, 2021 Remsen winner Mo Donegal (Uncle Mo) clawed his way past Early Voting (Gun Runner) to...

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Kevin McKathan To Give Training A Try

Kevin McKathan has many talents. One of the principals behind McKathan Bros. Training Center in Ocala, he's helped start the career of many a good horse, including 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile), and he's also a major force as a consignor at the 2-year-old sales. But he's ready for something different. Thirty-three years after starting his last horse, McKathan will return to the training ranks when he sends out long shot Fenwick (Curlin) in Saturday's GI Toyota Blue Grass S. at Keeneland. "I am very excited,"...

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Essential Quality Guts It Out in the Blue Grass

Godolphin homebred Essential Quality (Tapit) gave his connections a few anxious moments in the stretch, but, in the end, he proved why he is a champion with a gutsy score in Keeneland's GII Toyota Blue Grass S. Saturday evening. Hustling up to contest the early pace, the 1-2 favorite allowed Highly Motivated (Into Mischief) to take control, settling on his outside hip through a :23.83 first quarter and :48.21 half-mile. The top two continued to duke it out as three-quarters went in 1:12.08 with the rest of the field watching...

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Essential Quality to Blue Grass, Arkansas Derby Next for Caddo River

Defending juvenile champion Essential Quality (Tapit) is expected to make his next start in the Apr. 3 GII Toyota Blue Grass S. at Keeneland, according to trainer Brad Cox Tuesday. The Godolphin homebred, who is slated to post his final major work this Saturday, most recently won the GIII Southwest S. at Oaklawn Feb. 27. "The Blue Grass is what we have zeroed in on," confirmed Cox. "He's done extremely well [since the Southwest]. We breezed him last Saturday [Mar. 13], and we clocked him at a half in :48.20,...

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Art Collector Heads Churchill Workers

Bruce Lundsford's Art Collector (Bernardini), winner of the GII Toyota Blue Grass S. in his latest start, worked over a muddy Churchill Downs track Saturday morning. Trained by Tom Drury, the colt carved out fractions of :12.80 and :24.60 before galloping out five furlongs in 1:01.20 and six panels in 1:14.80. "It's so nice to have a horse who is versatile and can really run over any surface," said Drury. "He did everything very easily this morning and it was really just a perfect work. We are still taking things...

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The TDN Oaks Top 10 For July 16

It was a busy Saturday at Keeneland for the nation's top 3-year-old fillies, as a field of five contested the GI Ashland S. and Swiss Skydiver (Daredveil) ventured outside her division as her connections boldly took on males in the GII Toyota Blue Grass S. At the end of the day, the deck was shuffled some, but not much. Speech (Mr. Speaker), already a highly regarded Oaks contender, won the Ashland and Swiss Skydiver was terrific in a second-place finish against the boys. With the Oaks less than eight weeks...

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