The Albaugh Family Stable’s Brody’s Cause made off with the $600,000 top prize from Saturday’s $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G1) and soon after was back in his stall at Churchill Downs at trainer Dale Romans’ barn. Brody’s Cause won the 92nd running of the race by 1¾ lengths to secure a spot in the starting gate for the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1).
Brody’s Cause, a graduate of Keeneland’s 2014 September Yearling Sale, became the fourth horse to win both the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and the Toyota Blue Grass, joining the likes of the Romans-trained Dullahan four years ago.
Also returning to Churchill Downs was stablemate Cherry Wine, who finished third, only a head behind My Man Sam for the runner-up spot. Cherry Wine is owned by William Pacella, Frank Jones Jr. and Frank Shoop.
Romans told Daily Racing Form that all was well with the two colts Sunday morning.
My Man Sam was good the morning after the race, said Baldo Hernandez, assistant to trainer Chad Brown. The Trappe Shot colt, who races for Sheep Pond Partners, Newport Stables and Jay W. Bligh, has 40 Derby qualifying points to be 17th among leading point-earners.
Trainer Eric Guillot is considering options for Laoban, who led the Toyota Blue Grass in the early part of the race before being overtaken in the stretch and finishing fourth. The Uncle Mo colt, still a maiden in five races for owner Southern Equine Stable and McCormick Racing, has 32 Derby qualifying points, good for 21st on the leaders list.
Guillot said Laoban is to remain at Keeneland for the time being until he moves his stable to Churchill.
KEENELAND HAS RECORD HANDLE ON TOYOTA BLUE GRASS DAY
Saturday marked a record day at Keeneland, which posted an all-time single-day handle record of $21,736,983.
All-sources wagering included $20,805,455 handled on Keeneland’s 11 live races; $423,679 wagered on the Big Apple/Bluegrass Pick 4; and on-track simulcast handle of $507,849.
The record bested the previous record of $21,647,378 set on Toyota Blue Grass Day, April 14, 2012.
Saturday’s program was highlighted by three Grade 1 stakes – the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G1), won by Brody’s Cause; $500,000 Central Bank Ashland, won by Weep No More; and $300,000 Madison, won by Sheer Drama – and featured an All-Stakes Pick 4, All-Stakes Pick 5 and a special Big Apple/Bluegrass Pick 4 on the Toyota Blue Grass and Madison from Keeneland and Wood Memorial (G1) and Bay Shore (G3) from Aqueduct.
On-track attendance was 20,848.
CENTRAL BANK ASHLAND WINNER WEEP NO MORE HEADS TO CHURCHILL MONDAY
Ashbrook Farm’s upset Central Bank Ashland (G1) winner Weep No More will head to Churchill Downs on Monday to begin preparations for the 142nd running of the Kentucky Oaks (G1) on May 6.
“She was going to go to Churchill on Monday whether she ran first, fourth or whatever,” trainer Rusty Arnold said.
“(Assistant) Jack (Bohannan) did all the training with her at Payson and I just tried not to mess it up the last 10 days. The boy that galloped her and her groom at Payson are at Churchill and I did not want to break up a good team.”
The victory was the second in the Central Bank Ashland for Arnold, who also won in 2012 with Karlovy Vary.
Arnold fell short of sweeping the Central Bank Ashland and Toyota Blue Grass (G1) when Star Hill finished fifth in the latter race.
“I got a little excited at the quarter pole, but from the 13 hole he (jockey Emisael Jaramillo) had to use him a little more early to get a good position,” he said. “Unlike the filly, I don’t know what the immediate plan is for him.”
Weep No More finished a neck in front of Rachel’s Valentina, who was in her first race since her second-place finish in the 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Keeneland last October. The filly battled Cathryn Sophia and Carina Mia until Weep No More passed the trio in the final yards.
Tristan Barry, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher, on Sunday morning reported all is well with Rachel’s Valentina, who will remain at Keeneland for the time being until her next expected start in the Kentucky Oaks.
Cathryn Sophia, who ran third, might be going to Churchill Downs but not for the Oaks, according to trainer John Servis.
“(Owner) Chuck (Zacney) and I talked it over last night and we may leave her here and point to the ($200,000) Eight Belles (G2 on May 6),” Servis said.
“We will shorten her up a little bit and get her back on track. With the quarantine at Parx, we’ll stay here.”
Cathryn Sophia lost for the first time in five career starts. Saturday’s race was her first time going two turns.
“(Jockey) Javier (Castellano) said she gave him a little run and then kind of hung,” Servis said. “There are a lot of one-turn races coming up.”
FAWKES, BRAVO BASK IN GLOW OF SHEER DRAMA’S “BEST EFFORT” IN MADISON
Before trainer David Fawkes began the drive back to his South Florida base Sunday morning, he gave Harold Queen’s Sheer Drama the once over after her neck victory over Stopchargingmaria in Saturday’s Madison (G1).
“I think that was her best effort,” Fawkes said of Sheer Drama’s third Grade 1 victory. “If she had run that race in the Breeders’ Cup (Distaff-G1) with that determination, she would have won but she was compromised by her post (13 of 14) that day.”
Sheer Drama had finished fourth to Stopchargingmaria in the Breeders’ Cup here last fall.
An earner of more than $1.6 million, Sheer Drama next will head to Louisville for the $300,000 La Troienne (G1) at 1 1/16 miles on May 6 at Churchill Downs.
“I plan to leave her here and probably work her once here and then go over,” Fawkes said. “I don’t want to back her up (to seven-eighths in the Humana Distaff-G1) and this (the La Troienne) was the race she was second in last year.”
Also stopping by to check in on Sheer Drama was regular rider Joe Bravo, who also won the Shakertown (G2) on Undrafted on Saturday.
“I think that was her best effort yet,” said Bravo, who has ridden Sheer Drama in her past nine starts. “After the year she had last year (three wins and four seconds in eight starts), you don’t expect that. You just hope they come back good.”
Trainer Todd Pletcher, who has been in New York, said Stopchargingmaria would make her next start in the $1 million Ogden Phipps (G1) at 1 1/6 miles on Belmont Stakes Day, reported Daily Racing Form. The Madison marked her first start since winning the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) here last October.
Third-place finisher Wavell Avenue, who finished two lengths behind Stopchargingmaria, was fine Sunday morning, according to trainer Chad Brown’s assistant Baldo Hernandez. The Madison was her first race since she won the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) here.
SHAKERTOWN WINNER UNDRAFTED TO RETURN TO ROYAL ASCOT
Trainer Wesley Ward said Wes Welker and Sol Kumin’s Undrafted, who scored a half-length win in Saturday’s Shakertown (G2) in his 2016 debut, would next defend his title in the Diamond Jubilee (G1) at Royal Ascot in June.
Last year, Undrafted opened the season with a third-place finish in the Shakertown (then a Grade 3 race). He was second to Power Alert (AUS) in the TwinSpires Turf Sprint (G3) on Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs. He won the June 20 Diamond Jubilee by a half-length.
Undrafted made two more starts in 2015, running second in the More Than Ready Mile at Kentucky Downs and fifth to Mongolian Saturday in the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Keeneland.
Ridden in the Shakertown by Joe Bravo, Undrafted is stabled year-round near Keeneland on Ward’s property that includes a converted tobacco barn where the 6-year-old Purim gelding resides. After training at Keeneland each morning, Undrafted is turned out in a big field until nightfall, when he is returned to his stall.
“That’s what he likes,” said Ward, who called Undrafted “a real docile kind of a guy who just likes to be left alone.”
Undrafted, a Keeneland sales graduate named for Welker’s status after his college football career, has won six races in 23 starts and has earned $1,251,778.
Welker and Kumin were at Keeneland for the Shakertown.
Shakertown runner-up Something Extra, who was denied in his bid to become only the second repeat winner of the Shakertown, came out of the race fine, according to trainer and co-owner Gail Cox.
Cox said the $150,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint at five furlongs on May 6 at Churchill is under consideration for Something Extra, who finished third in that race last year.
Trainer and co-owner Brian Lynch said Power Alert (AUS), eighth in the Shakertown as the favorite, was fine the morning after the race and the Twin Spires Turf Sprint was one of many possibilities for Power Alert.
BREEDERS’ CUP WINNER CATCH A GLIMPSE HEADS FIELD FOR APPALACHIAN PRESENTED BY JAPAN RACING ASSOCIATION
Gary Barber, Michael Ambler and Windways Farm’s Catch a Glimpse, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) here last fall and the 2015 Canadian Horse of the Year, heads a field of 11 3-year-old fillies entered Sunday for the 28th running of the $125,000 Appalachian (G3) Presented by Japan Racing Association.
The one-mile turf race will go as the eighth race on Thursday’s nine-race program with a 4:57 p.m. ET post time. First post time Thursday is 1:05 p.m.
Trained by Mark Casse, Catch a Glimpse is undefeated in four starts on the turf with other stakes victories coming in the Natalma (G2) and the Herecomesthebride (G3).
Florent Geroux, who has been aboard the City Zip filly for her past three wins, retains the mount Thursday and will break from post position eight.
Chief rivals to Catch a Glimpse figure to be Amerman Racing Stable’s Baciami Piccola (GB) and Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Ava’s Kitten.
Trained by Brian Lynch, Baciami Piccola won the Florida Oaks (G3) in her U.S. debut on March 12 at Tampa Bay Downs. A winner of two of four career starts, Baciami Piccola will be ridden by Julien Leparoux and break from post position 11.
Ava’s Kitten finished fifth in the Florida Oaks as the favorite in her 2016 debut. Trained by Chad Brown, Ava’s Kitten will be ridden by Javier Castellano and break from post position five.
The field for the Appalachian, with rider and weight, from the inside is: Spinamiss (IRE) (John Velazquez, 118 pounds), Outsider Art (Drayden Van Dyke, 118), Dothraki Queen(Corey Lanerie, 118), Recognition (Robby Albarado, 118), Ava’s Kitten (Castellano, 120), Miss Katie Mae (IRE) (James Graham, 118), Princess Princess (Luis Saez, 118), Catch a Glimpse (Geroux, 123), Felt in Pocket (Flavien Prat, 118), Auntie Joy (Brian Hernandez Jr., 118) and Baciami Piccola (GB) (Leparoux, 120).
NYQUIST SLATED TO RESUME GALLOPING MONDAY
Reddam Racing’s Nyquist jogged two times around the main track accompanied by a pony before the Sunday morning renovation break with exercise rider Jonny Garcia up.
“I am pretty sure he is going to gallop tomorrow,” said Jack Sisterson, assistant to trainer Doug O’Neill.
Undefeated in seven starts and the favorite for the May 7 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1), the son of Uncle Mo had the same exercise Saturday on his first day back at the track following his victory in the April 2 Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1).
With rain in the forecast for later Sunday and overnight into Monday, Nyquist could go to Keeneland’s all-weather training track Monday.
“That’s the beauty of Keeneland,” Sisterson said. “We plan to go to the main track, but if it is real sloppy, we can go to the training track.”
Sisterson was asked what he thought about the results of Saturday’s three Kentucky Derby preps and challengers to Nyquist in Louisville.
“I know I’d like to have some of Uncle Mo,” Sisterson said in reference to Wood Memorial (G1) winner Outwork, also a son of Uncle Mo as is Nyquist. “And Brody’s Cause winning (the Toyota Blue Grass-G1) here yesterday and Exaggerator in the Santa Anita Derby (G1), that flatters Nyquist a little more because he beat them both in the Breeders’ Cup. We feel fortunate to be in the position we are in.”
Ruth Schmidt, assistant to trainer Josie Carroll, said Ivan Dalos’ Ami’s Flatter came out of his victory in Saturday’s Commonwealth (G3) in good order but plans for a next start are undetermined.
“There are lots of possibilities for him,” said Schmidt, who is overseeing Carroll’s Keeneland string for the trainer who was at Woodbine for that track’s opening day Saturday.
One possibility could be the $500,000 Churchill Downs (G2) to be run at seven furlongs on May 7 on the Kentucky Derby card.
One horse penciled in for that race is Katherine Ball’s Limousine Liberal. Making his 2016 debut Saturday, the Ben Colebrook trainee broke the Keeneland track record for 6½ furlongs with a 1:15.05 clocking in an allowance victory.
Good Friends Stable’s Private Zone, second in the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) here last fall, continued working toward his 2016 debut with a half-mile breeze in :46.60 shortly after the main track opened Sunday morning. “He burned the track up this morning,” trainer Brian Lynch said. …
Working after the break was Fortino Inc.’s Lexington (G3) probable entrant Yo Carm, who covered a half-mile in :50 for trainer Neil Pessin. Working earlier for Pessin was Lothenbach Stables’ Eden Prairie, who covered a half-mile in :49.20 in preparation for Saturday’s Giant’s Causeway.
PROBABLE ENTRANTS FOR APRIL 15-17 STAKES
$300,000 MAKER’S 46 MILE (G1) (entries taken Tuesday, race Friday, April 15) – Conquest Typhoon, Dac, Heart to Heart, Reload, Shining Copper, Tourist.
$350,000 COOLMORE JENNY WILEY (G1) (entries taken Wednesday; race Saturday, April 16) – Akatea (IRE), Dacita (CHI), Illuminant, Recepta, Tepin, Wekeela (FR).
$200,000 BEN ALI (G3) (entries taken Wednesday; race Saturday, April 16) – Ami’s Holiday, Breaking Lucky, Doyouknowsomething, Eagle, General a Rod, Neck ‘n Neck.
$150,000 LEXINGTON (G3) (entries taken Wednesday; race Saturday, April 16) – Big Squeeze, Direct Message, Lomcevak, Pinson, Riker, Swipe, Synchrony, Yo Carm.
$100,000 GIANT’S CAUSEWAY (entries taken Wednesday; race Saturday, April 16) – Eden Prairie, Exaggerated, Jewel of a Cat, Lindisfarne, Maggiesfreuddnslip, Miss Ella, Miss Matzoball, Rapid Rhythm, Sweet Success.
$150,000 ADENA SPRINGS BEAUMONT (G3) (entries taken Thursday, April 14; race Sunday, April 17) – Cosmic Girl, Kinsley Kisses, Lightstream, Nickname, Northwest Tale, R Girls a Charmer.