Lexington, KY (April 8, 2009) – WinStar Farm LLC’s Hold Me Back, winner of the Lane’s End (G2), Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren Jr.’s undefeated Charitable Man and Hamdan al Maktoum’s Mafaaz (GB), winner of the Kentucky Derby Challenge at Kempton Park in England last month, headline a field of 11 horses entered for Saturday’s $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G1) at Keeneland.
The Toyota Blue Grass is scheduled to go off at 5:15 p.m. ET as the ninth race on Saturday’s 10-race card. First post time is 1:05 p.m. for the card that features three other graded races in addition to the Toyota Blue Grass.
The three headliners enter the 85th running of the Toyota Blue Grass from varied directions.
Hold Me Back, installed by handicapper Mike Battaglia as the 3-1 favorite on the morning line, has won three of four career starts, including an allowance score here last fall. Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Hold Me Back made his 2009 debut in the Lane’s End.
Kent Desormeaux, who rode Hold Me Back to victory in the Lane’s End, has the mount Saturday and will break from post position 10.
Charitable Man, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, has yet to start in 2009. Sidelined by a saucer fracture in a shin after winning the Grade 2 Futurity at Belmont Park on September 13, Charitable Man will break from post position nine under Alan Garcia, who has been aboard for the colt’s two victories. Charitable Man is 4-1 on the morning line.
Mafaaz (GB) is already guaranteed a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate by virtue of his neck victory in the Kentucky Derby Challenge at Kempton Park over Polytrack on March 18. A winner of two of three career starts, Mafaaz made his 2009 debut in the Kentucky Derby Challenge for trainer John Gosden. Richard Hills has the mount on Mafaaz, listed at 12-1 on the morning line, and will break from post position five.
Second choice on the morning line at 7-2 is Theregoesjojo, owned by Samotowka Stables LLC, Delfiner Partners, George Krall and Magdalena Racing and trained by Ken McPeek. Third in the Grade 1 Florida Derby behind Quality Road and Dunkirk in his most recent start on March 28, Theregoesjojo will break from post position three under Calvin Borel.
The remaining Toyota Blue Grass starters seek to enhance their graded stakes earnings to be competitive in a prospective Kentucky Derby field of 20 entrants.
One horse that does not need to worry about graded earnings is Adele Dilschneider’s Terrain. Second in the Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity (G1) here last fall, Terrain has graded earnings of $410,830, most of any Toyota Blue Grass starter.
Trained by Al Stall Jr., Terrain made his 2009 debut in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby with a third-place finish. Listed at 6-1 on the morning line for the Toyota Blue Grass, Terrain will break from post position six and will be ridden by Julien Leparoux.
Trainer Todd Pletcher, who sent out the 1-2 finishers in last year’s Toyota Blue Grass in Monba and Cowboy Cal, respectively, will be shooting for his third victory in the race when he sends out Join in the Dance. Runner-up in the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) in his most recent start, Join in the Dance is owned by Jake Ballis, Rashard Lewis, Reagan Swinbank, Reed Ballis and William Swinbank and will break from post position two under John Velazquez. Join in the Dance is 10-1 on the morning line. Pletcher’s other Toyota Blue Grass winner was Bandini in 2005.
Also entering the Toyota Blue Grass off a winning effort at Turfway Park is Silverton Hill LLC’s Cliffy’s Future. Winner of the Rushaway Stakes, Cliffy’s Future is trained by Darrin Miller, who scored a Rushaway-Toyota Blue Grass double in 2007 with Dominican for Silverton Hill. Jesus Castanon will ride Cliffy’s Future and break from post position four. Listed at 20-1 on the morning line, Cliffy’s Future is a son of 2004 Toyota Blue Grass winner The Cliff’s Edge.
The complete field for the Toyota Blue Grass from the rail out, is as follows (all carrying 123 pounds): Patena (R. Albarado), Join in the Dance (J. Velazquez), Theregoesjojo (C. Borel), Cliffy’s Future (J. Castanon), Mafaaz (GB) (R. Hills), Terrain (J. Leparoux), Loch Dubh (J. Theriot), General Quarters (E. Coa), Charitable Man (A. Garcia), Hold Me Back (K. Desormeaux) and Massone (G. Gomez).