It was 1982, and I was sitting in our living room. There was no live TV coverage, and simulcast was about 15-years away. Everyday that Keeneland ran, you could catch the feature race on radio. The late-great Caywood Ledford was painting the picture of horses loading into the gates, and I could feel the hair stand up on my neck. At the end of the 1:48 time of the race, my runner could only muster a fast closing second to Linkage with Bill Shoemaker in the irons. That was my first Blue Grass Stakes, and since that day I have been in love with this race, and the history that surrounds the day.
The weather forecast calls for clear and sunny skies, and high of 55 degrees.
Race #3 – Mdn Sp Wt – 1 1/16 – 2:05 p.m. ET
#8 – Apex = Joel Rosario in the irons for trainer Bill Mott. They are winning at a 33% clip as a team. This is a speedy gelding stretching out for a powerhouse barn. Catch him if you can!
Race #4 – Alw $64,000 – 1 1/8 – 2:35 p.m. ET
#6 – Treasury Devil = Rosario in the saddle for Christophe Clement. Strikes the 3rd off the layoff move, and is shipping in from Gulfstream Park. The barn wins 32% with the layoff move, and worked a bullet at Payson park before being shipped to Lexington.
Race #6 – (G-3) Commonwealth Stakes – 7f – 3:35 p.m. ET
#6 – Handsome Mike = Mario Gutierrez up for Doug O’Neill. They drop in class from the (G-1) ranks, and cut back in distance. I like the “California” connections, and I am looking for a stalking trip from the tandem that won the Derby last year.
Race #7 – (G-3) Shakertown Stakes – 5 1/2f on the turf – 4:05 p.m. ET
#2 – Hogy = Chris Emigh in the driver’s seat for Scott Becker (27%). In 2013, they have teamed 36 times, and have been ITM 24 times. 2nd time off the layoff, and is 3/3 on the weeds. The bullet work adds confidence, and I will use the E-Z Win Forms to find value to surround my runner.
Race #8 – (G-1) Madison Stakes – 7f – 4:35 p.m. ET
#3 – Holiday for Kitten = Elvis Trujillo gets the nod for the red-hot Wesley Ward barn (27%). 3/3 ITM at Keeneland, and her last race at Presque Isle is a “key race.” Four runners exited that event to come back to find glory.
Race #9 – (G-1) Jenny Wiley Stakes – 1 1/16 on the turf – 5:05 p.m. ET
#6 – Samitar = Javier Castellano in the saddle for Chad Brown. They have been winning at a 28% clip as team this past month. Centre Court has bested her three times, and Castellano looks for a little payback. 2nd off the shelf, and if you go back and watch the QE II last year, she was flying late outside of runners.
Race #10 – (G-1) Bluegrass Stakes – 1 1/8 – 5:40 p.m. ET
This is one of the last chances to get a spot in the starting gates in Louisville. It should be exciting, as every runner will be bringing their “A” game.
#9 – Tesseron = Alan Garcia gets the call for Josie Carroll. This son of Tapit relished the synthetic at Woodbine, and exits a “key race” on 2/23. There have been 5 starters that have come back with 2 wins, 1 second, 1 third, and a fourth on the turf at Keeneland on Wednesday.
#11 – Balance the Books = Gets the services of Javier Castellano for Chad Brown. 4/5 ITM lifetime, and makes his 2nd start as a three-year-old. Toss out that last race as it was his first start in 2013.
#5 – Palace Malice = Garrett Gomez in the irons for Todd Pletcher. His last race was a brutal trip, and was blocked, and checked repeatedly. He was moving like winner, and trouble found him in the Louisiana Derby. Toss out the race… With a cleaner trip, he should be able to give a better showing.
There is a glimpse of the action in Lexington, Kentucky. The weather was wet on Thursday, and Friday started clearing with cooler temperatures. I see a perfect spring day on tap, and be sure to get your E-Z Win Forms in hand. They always uncover that nugget of value that makes your day a winner!