Winners in Blue Grass, Wood Memorial and Santa Anita Derby Run for the Roses Next
Three more major Kentucky Derby prep races were decided Saturday, and three of the most noted trainers in horse racing delivered victories in the Blue Grass Stakes, Wood Memorial and Santa Anita Derby.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champion Good Magic had already qualified for the Derby, but he showed his championship form in winning the $1 million Blue Grass Stakes (G2) Saturday at Keeneland. The Curlin colt held off Flameaway in the deep stretch to win the Blue Grass by 1 ½ lengths and jockey Jose Ortiz and trainer Chad Brown will send the Curlin colt to Louisville in a few weeks and stay at Keeneland until then.
Good Magic covered 1 1/8 miles over the fast main track in 1:50.18 to earn $600,000 plus 100 points towards the Kentucky Derby. Good Magic paid $5.20 to win as the 8-5 favorite in the field of 15. Flameaway finished second and Sporting Chance was disqualified from 3rd to 4th in favor of Free Drop Billy, who he interfered with in the deep stretch. Flameway and Free Drop Billy are also going to Churchill Downs having qualified with enough Kentucky Derby points.
Another Curlin colt prevailed in the $750,000 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, as Vino Rosso survived a stewards’ inquiry to win the Wood and earn 100 Derby points to secure his spot in the starting gate for the May 5 Kentucky Derby. Trainer Todd Pletcher teams with last year’s Derby-winning rider John Velazquez again after Vino Rosso pulled away in the deep stretch for a mild upset over favorite Enticed. Vino Rosso paid $10.40 to win in a final 1 1/8 mile time of 1:49.79 over a fast track. Those two will each head to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby along with fourth place finisher Firenze Fire.
The Santa Anita showdown went to Justify, as the talented Scat Daddy colt made it 3-for-3 and heads to the Churchill Downs after capturing 100 Derby points and winning the Santa Anita Derby by 3 lengths over 3rd place Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner Bolt d’ Oro. Justify, unraced as a 2-year-old, went off as the 4-5 favorite and won with ease covering 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.72 over a fast track. He picked up $600,000 for his connections and returned $2.80 in victory over six rivals.
Unraced as a 2-year-old, Justify may be the Kentucky Derby favorite when they go to the starting gate May 5 at Churchill Downs, and he’ll try to become the first un-raced 2-year-old to capture the Derby since Apollo over 120 years ago in 1892.