The Craig Stables and Donkey Island Racing’s Holy Candy is the only entrant among 13 for Saturday’s 88th running of the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G1) to enter the race off a maiden victory.
It is a move that trainer John Sadler does not often make, especially when the move requires shipping across country from his Southern California base.
After starting his career with three runner-up finishes, Holy Candy broke through in his most recent start on March 23, winning by 3½ lengths while going a mile under Joel Rosario.
“He was very impressive breaking his maiden,” Sadler said. “You have to see the tape of the race. He galloped out 20 lengths in front of the field. You get one shot (at the Kentucky Derby) and it is hard not to try.”
Sadler entered Holy Candy in last Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby (G1) but opted to scratch out of that race in favor of the Toyota Blue Grass.
“He was 8-1 for the Santa Anita Derby,” said Sadler of Holy Candy, who is 30-1 on the Toyota Blue Grass line. “I thought the extra week would be an advantage. He has trained a lot on the synthetic at Hollywood Park and trained well on it.”
Rosario, who won the Toyota Blue Grass last year aboard Brilliant Speed, has the mount Saturday on Holy Candy, who will break from post position nine.
Holy Candy galloped a mile and a half on the main track Thursday morning with exercise rider Lupillo Alferez up.
Sadler brought two other horses to Keeneland along with Holy Candy in hopes of adding to his two stakes victories at the track. This afternoon he saddles the Craig Family Trust’s Home Sweet Aspen in the Vinery Madison (G1) and on Friday will send out the Pressday Syndicate’s Pressday (AUS) in the Maker’s 46 Mile (G1).
“We got him in November,” Sadler said of Pressday, a Group 1 winner in Australia. “The owners just contacted me about training the horse and I told them to bring him on over.”
In two U.S. starts, Pressday has placed second and third going 6½ furlongs at Santa Anita.
“I think he will be better at a mile than down the hill,” Sadler said, referring to Santa Anita’s unique turf course. “After he is done racing here, he will go back to Australia.”
In addition to Holy Candy, all other Toyota Blue Grass entrants stabled at Keeneland had regular morning exercise.
Trainer Gennadi Dorochenko had both of his hopefuls on the main track. Louisiana Derby (G2) winner Hero of Order galloped at better than a two-minute lick according to clockers and then Russian Greek had a similar activity that finished with a half-mile in :50
Ever So Lucky galloped six furlongs on the training track under assistant trainer Barry Wiseman; Heavy Breathing galloped on the training track under Nick Bush; Howe Great galloped 1½ miles on the main track under Heather Craig; Midnight Crooner galloped 1 3/8 miles under Peter Hutton and Politicallycorrect galloped 1½ miles on the main track.
Trainer Mike Maker said that morning-line Toyota Blue Grass favorite Hansen and stablemate Gung Ho galloped at Louisville’s Trackside Training Center. Maker said both horses would ship to Keeneland today and be on the track Friday morning with an expected training time of 7:30.
At Churchill Downs, Dullahan, Prospective and Scatman galloped. All three horses are scheduled for similar activity on Friday and then van to Keeneland on Saturday.
SACRISTY TOPS FIELD OF SIX FOR SUNDAY’S BEAUMONT
Peachtree Stable’s Sacristy, winner of the Old Hat (G3), heads a field of six 3-year-old fillies entered Thursday for Sunday’s 27th running of the $150,000 Beaumont (G2) to be contested over the Beard Course of seven furlongs, 184 feet.
The Beaumont, won last year by Turbulent Descent, will go as the eighth race on Sunday’s nine-race program with a post time of 4:42 p.m. (ET). First post time Sunday is 1:05 p.m.
Sacristy, trained by Wayne Catalano, comes into the Beaumont off a 2½-month layoff following a third-place finish in the slop in the Forward Gal (G2) at Gulfstream. Julien Leparoux has the riding assignment on Sacristy, who will break from post position six.
Leparoux won the Beaumont in 2009 on War Kill.
Figuring to be the main threat to Sacristy is Gypsy Robin, trained by Wesley Ward. Idle since winning the Sorority in September at Monmouth Park, Gypsy Robin broke her maiden at first asking by 7½ lengths here last spring in her lone start on Polytrack. Jeffrey Sanchez has the mount on Gypsy Robin, who is owned by King 9 Stables, Gatewood Bell, Bret Jones and Ward.
The field for the Beaumont, from the rail out, is as follows: Milania (Miguel Mena, 118 pounds), Piskacha (Azael De Leon, 118), Livi Makenzie (Greta Kuntzweiler, 118), Born Bullish (Garrett Gomez, 118), Gypsy Robin (Sanchez, 118) and Sacristy (Leparoux, 118).
GRADE 1 STAKES HAVE FRENCH ACCENT FOR BROWN
Two French-breds racing for Martin S. Schwartz and trained by Chad Brown are all set to contest Grade 1 races at Keeneland. Today, Whipsaw City (FR) will make her North American stakes debut in the $300,000 Vinery Madison (G1) after two consecutive wins at Gulfstream Park in her first two starts this country. Zagora (FR) is the morning-line favorite for the $300,000 Jenny Wiley (G1) on Saturday.
“She’s been training really well here,” said Brown about Whipsaw City, a daughter of Elusive City who will break from post three in the field of eight. “She has Polytrack experience. She ran over it in France in her (winning) debut.”
Brown said he scratched La Reine Lionne from the Jenny Wiley and will race her on Derby Day at Churchill Downs.
Zagora “also is doing really well,” Brown said. The Grade 1-winning Green Tune mare will make her third career start at Keeneland, following a runner-up finish in the 2010 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) and a third in last year’s Jenny Wiley (G2). She enters this year’s Jenny Wiley off two consecutive Grade 3 wins on the turf at Tampa Bay Downs.
“We freshened her up this winter,” Brown said. “We’ve run her twice already this year, and both races have been excellent. She’s come back as a 5-year-old even a little bit bigger and stronger than last year and a little bit faster, so we’re excited about her this year.”
Another runner Brown will send out this weekend is Bergerac, a 5-year-old Rahy gelding that Brown claimed for Paul Pompa Jr. for $80,000 in his last race, on February 11 at Gulfstream Park. Bergerac has made three starts at Keeneland, two on turf and a winning effort over 1/16 miles on the main track last October.
“Mr. Pompa picked him out to claim, and it was a really sharp move,” Brown said. “We claimed the horse, and he’s done super since we got him. He came to me in good shape, and I love the way he’s training. The layoff is a little bit of a concern for me, but he has one race over Polytrack—he ran really well—and I think he’ll run well in the Commonwealth.”
Brown said Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Big Blue Kitten would be scratched from Friday’s Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) and run in the Ben Ali (G3), a 1 1/8-mile race on the main track on April 22. On Thursday morning, the 4-year-old Kitten’s Joy colt worked five furlongs in company with Sir Sidney in 1:00.20.
Trakus, which records individual sectional times and distance covered for races at Keeneland, offers a couple of nuggets regarding Toyota Blue Grass (G1) co-second choice Dullahan.
Dullahan’s only victory in seven starts came in last fall’s Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1). In that race, Dullahan had a wide journey, covering 51, 11 and 21 feet more than the next three finishers, respectively (Majestic City, Optimizer and Take Charge Indy).
In Dullahan’s lone start of 2012, he finished a length behind fellow Toyota Blue Grass contender Howe Great in the Palm Beach (G3). According to Trakus, Dullahan covered 44 feet more than Howe Great with the extra ground covered equating to just more than five lengths.
Trainers Tom Proctor and Josie Carroll were happy campers Thursday morning after their Marketing Mix and Inglorious ran first and second, respectively, in Wednesday’s Denali Purse at a mile on the grass. The Denali marked the 2012 debut for both 4-year-old fillies.
Marketing Mix, owned by Glen Hill Farm, had finished second in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) here in October and closed 2011 with a victory in the Mrs. Revere (G2) at Churchill Downs.
“It’s nice to win one,” Proctor said. “She is nominated to the ($200,000-added) Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2 on May 5 at Churchill Downs), but I might take her to California.
Donver Stable’s Inglorious, the 2011 Canadian champion 3-year-old filly, made her grass debut in the Denali.
“I was thrilled with her; it was a great way to come back,” Carroll said. “She is nominated to the race at Churchill Downs. We will see how quick she bounces back.”
The strong turf showing gives Carroll more options for 2012 with the daughter of Hennessy.
“That’s what I like,” Carroll said. “She is pretty good on Polytrack and it looks like she’ll be pretty good on grass.” …
Reigning Horse of the Year Havre de Grace galloped a mile and a half on the Keeneland training track early Thursday morning with trainer Larry Jones in the saddle.
“This is her third day down there,” Jones said. “She jogged the day she got here on Tuesday and then galloped a mile on Wednesday. The training track has more cushion on it and I am taking all my horses down there. She is not getting any special treatment.” ...
Trainer Brian Lynch recorded his first Keeneland victory on Wednesday when Quick Split, a 5-year-old Broken Vow mare he also owns, won the second race. Quick Split, who won by a neck and covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:49.51, was one of three winners of the eight-race card for jockey Julien Leparoux, who equaled Alan Garcia’s three-win feat from Saturday.