Saturday, April 9, 2022
KEE Race #5 Post Time 19:25
$1,000.000 11/8 Dirt 3YO C/G 120 F 115 Lbs
Track Record-1:47.29 (Combat Wombat-2021)
Stakes Record-1:47.88 (Sports Page-2021)
The last weekend of the major KYD prep season is upon us, and the $1,000.000 G1 Bluegrass Stakes has drawn a full gate of 14 for this 18th renewal. After several years at G2 status, the marquee event at KEE was rightly upped back to G1 status this year. Thirteen colts/geldings and one lone filly will complete the 9f distance carrying 120/115 pounds respectively. Eleven of the fourteen runners have competed in at least one prep this season, but the field only has two listed triumphs to show for their collective efforts. That’s not to say that they haven’t been close as eight of these runners are on the current leaderboard (19th, 20th, 23rd, 31st, 35th, 40th, 44th, 60th); however, anyone in here looking towards Louisville needs a positive result. Mb Stables owns three of these trophies to top the HRP training community while three jockeys have taken home two replicas.
As far as this year’s field, only the duo from the barn of Mb Stables (Crazy Ivan and Rudy Is With Me) enter here off of a win and Neoconservative is the only other horse to register a win this season. All of that to say this, someone is going to need a career-best performance to take down the G1 Bluegrass Stakes so let’s meet the fourteen runners who have a shot to earn their way to CD on the First Saturday in May!
#1 Crazy Ivan (Mb Stables/E. Jaramillo 120): January purchase is 2-2 for the new barn with the latest being the $125.000 Battaglia at TP last month. In both, he took back off of the pace and made a steady progression towards the front and this draw should enable him to save a ton of ground until he decides to make his move. Rail draws in his last two worked to his advantage and he should have every opportunity to make his presence felt.
#2 Chai West (Alydar Stables/B.J. Hernandez Jr 120): October G1 winner over this strip, this guy has taken a beating in four races since. He wants to drop well back and make a late charge, but he has come up empty this season. Needs a form reversal in the worst way, but maybe returning to the site of his biggest win will wake him up.
#3 Changing Times (D J C Racing Stables/M. Franco 120): Currently 19th on the KYD leaderboard, this guy took home points in two of the three races he ran at FG this winter. Returns here on short rest in an effort to grab points to solidify his position in the CD starting gate. This is by far the best draw he’s had during the prep season and, if the quick turnaround doesn’t hamper him, he should be hitting his best stride late.
#4 Puissance de La Mer (Big Guns Stables/V. Espinoza 120): Took his free track debut in December before conquering N1X foes over a boggy SA turf course. Came up wanting in his first try on the main track in a G2 at GP but should be better for that experience here. Even though he finished 7th in Florida, it is worth noting the ground he made up near the end of that race. Gets more ground here, but he’ll have to get started a bit sooner to contend for the top honors.
#5 Disciplinary (Nakamura Stables/V.R. Carrasco 120): He’s in his third barn after previous connections cut bait for $225.000 in February. He makes his first start since December in his barn debut, and he finds a group that shouldn’t intimidate him. He’s another in need of a form reversal, but this barn knows how to win these types of races as well as anyone. Would be a little surprised to see him best these, but he is definitely one to add to the watch list.
#6 Say Bye Bye (Arindel/J.C. Ferrer 115): Lone filly in the field will get five pounds from her rivals and her conditioner has already thrown down the gauntlet in the forums. She has plenty of early speed and it appears the plan may be to let her roll from the gate and see how far she can take them. Filly is currently sitting 23rd on the KYO leaderboard so she needs points if she wants to be in the gate for either of the CD main events.
#7 I Want More (Team 7 Illusions/M. Mena 120): $400.000 purchase back in July only has a maiden win from three starts for this outfit, but the latest effort in the G2 at FG was very encouraging. He’s another that’s returning on short rest, but his latest was his first start since November so this could be the perfect move for this one. Like that he has speed and he seems to relish going a route of ground. Contender.
#8 Gigabyte (Smokey Stover/J.R. Velazquez 120): Sitting in 20th on the Big Board, this guy took the G2 LA Futurity before a pair of points-earning efforts this season. Gelding appears to have options as his wins came from up close, but he’s made up a ton of ground in the latter stages of two most recent efforts. Trainer hasn’t been making too many mistakes this season and this one is a logical contender.
#9 Neoconservative (Mo Mentum Farm/J. Pyfer 120): Yet another returning from the G2 LA Derby a couple of weeks ago, this one was beaten a length when 5th. Stuck in the nine hole again, he will have to get a very well-timed ride to compete for the top honors. This will be his 5th start of the season, so the quick turnaround is a bit more concerning with him. Going to pass, but he may steal some points late if he’s under no ill-effects from the short rest.
#10 Come With Assets (Fractious/Ru. Gonzalez 120): Gelding was a close 3rd in G1 BC Juvenile but hasn’t looked like the same horse in three races since. N1X feels like it should have been a confidence booster, but he could only manage a 4th-place finish. Takes one final crack at qualifying for the Derby, but he needs a form reversal and traffic help from this wide draw. He has the back class to be competitive, but we’re going to leave him off of the ticket.
#11 Rudy Is With Me (Mb Stables/A. Cedillo 120): $150.000 private purchase is well on his way to paying dividends for the new barn as he’s 2-2 since he changed hands in early February. Both of those wins came going a much shorter trip than this and his presence in here seems to indicate that the trainer believes the March 31 work at AQU shows he’s ready for this assignment. Gets hit with a wide draw, but think he contests/sets the early pace and tries take them as far as he can.
#12 Great State (Our Athletes/T. Gaffalione 120): Ran a monster race in his seasonal bow to be 2nd in the G3 Lewis but couldn’t validate that performance in the G2 San Felipe when 8th and beaten four lengths. Fractions were a little crazy in the latter so we’re going to forgive him, but this draw is not a positive. The Lewis effort came from well back and that may be his only option here but he’ll need a lot of things to go his way.
#13 No More Rattle (Bigchief Stables/J. Rosario 120): He was also an off-the-board finisher in the G2 San Felipe, but he did rally to be 4th and grab some coveted points. This is his third try at a prep and he’s drawn inside of exactly three horses. Easy to excuse losing efforts from out here, but this is the last chance so he needs to figure out a trip and time his run perfectly if he wants to go to Louisville.
#14 Keyhunt (Arindel/C.J. Hernandez 120): Filly’s stablemate sits 23rd currently on the Big Board and gets parked in Covington for this assignment. He’s been ITM in all three of his preps thus far, so there’s obvious talent here. To his credit, he can run his race from just about anywhere, so he just needs to get a little lucky and not be more than three wide the whole way. Lot easier said than done from out here but this guy is, arguably, the most accomplished horse in this field with those prep results. Maybe Saturday is his day but going to take a stand against based on probable trip alone.
Final Analysis: 7-1-8 in a bit of a shocker is how we see the G1 Bluegrass Stakes. This should be a very interesting race to watch as there are many pace scenarios that could unfold. Good luck to everyone involved!