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2023 Juvenile Sprint Stakes Preview | Bledsoe Gives Ward Big Chance On Kentucky Downs Closing Day
Bledsoe (Coady Photography)

2023 Juvenile Sprint Stakes Preview | Bledsoe Gives Ward Big Chance On Kentucky Downs Closing Day

Trainer Wesley Ward will have friends in high places watching a pair of his 2-year-olds run on Wednesday, closing day at the FanDuel Meet at Kentucky Downs.

In the eighth race, the $500,000, 6 ½-furlong Pepsi Juvenile Sprint for 2-year-old colts, Bledsoe, owned and trained by Ward, will run. The horse is named for former NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe.

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One race later, Song of Norway is entered to run in the $500,000, 6 1/2-furlong Untapable Stakes for 2-year-old fillies. The daughter of Flatter is owned by Corey Johnsen’s CJ Thoroughbreds. Johnson is a former president of Kentucky Downs.

Both horses are getting respect on the morning line. Bledsoe is 9-2 and Song of Norway 4-1.

Bledsoe the quarterback, will not be at Kentucky Downs to watch his namesake run. From the start, Ward thought this son of Iqbaal was one of the more talented homebreds in the 2022 crop.

He won his first career start on April 7 at Keeneland by 1½ lengths with Joel Rosario in the saddle. He will be on board Wednesday.

“From the first work on, he was always the most talented of the homebreds,” Ward said. “He was just much, much better. I have always thought even more of him than what he showed in the win.”

Bledsoe’s win came on the dirt at Keeneland at 4 1/2 furlongs.

Ward always thought that Bledsoe would excel on grass and, right after that first race, he sent him to England to train with Ollie Sangster, the grandson of Robert Sangster, who has been called one of the most influential owner-breeders of all time.

Ollie Sangster, who had once worked for Ward, is in his first year of training. Ward said that if Sangster felt that Bledsoe was a horse that he thought might make it to the Royal Ascot, he would let him run him in his own name. 

Ward figured he owed young Sangster because of the hard work he had put in for him when he was in America.

Bledsoe, Ward said, was doing well enough that Sangster entered him in the Windsor Castle Stakes. It didn’t happen.

“Ollie called me and said something wasn’t quite right,” Ward said. “I thanked him and we scratched and he came back home.”

After a minor issue, Bledsoe was back on his game and now here he is, at Kentucky Downs.

“He has really had some eye-opening breezes at Keeneland on the dirt,” Ward said. “We are looking forward to running him at Kentucky Downs.”

Here is the full field for the 2023 Untapable Stakes: