Slowly, Saturday's Blue Grass Stakes is losing lustre. First it was Any Given Saturday, who subbed for his stablemate when the decision was made that Circular Quay would be trained up to the Kentucky Derby. Now multiple stakes-winning Hard Spun, who won the Grade 2 Lane's End in his Polytrack debut at Turfway Park last time out, also will sit out the race.

He's no cinch to run in the Derby either, according to trainer Larry Jones. Unless the colt shows a preference for the Churchill Downs surface, Hard Spun will see the Derby on TV like most everyone else. Should he not be running on May's first Saturday, the Preakness would become the major goal of spring.

Hard Spun is an immensely talented individual. In fact, he is very reminiscent of Wood winner Nobiz Like Shobiz. They have almost the same running style, possessing tactical speed and push-button acceleration.

A handicapper's mind's eye sees either colt running fifth-sixth-seventh on the Derby backstretch, stalking the leaders from close range until ready to pounce on the far turn, where most Derbies are won. And here comes Circular Quay! And here comes Street Sense!

Indeed, this Derby could be one for the ages. The chances of that happening are better with Hard Spun than without him.