2012 Blue Grass Stakes becoming a 2012 Kentucky Derby prep

Keeneland Race Course

In 2007, Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense used an unusual path to get to the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Street Sense started with the Tampa Bay Derby on dirt then went on to the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes on a synthetic surface before returning to dirt for the Kentucky Derby. Since 1900, a total of 23 Kentucky Derby winners have run in the Blue Grass Stakes prior to their Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs.

2012 Tampa Bay Derby winner Prospective will follow the same path as Street Sense to Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May. Prospective, who like Street Sense has previous experience on a synthetic surface, will be pointed to the Blue Grass Stakes on April 14 at Keeneland Race Course.

On Monday, with regular exercise rider Melanie Giddings in the irons, Prospective came on the track shortly after the renovation break at 8:30 AM. Working with another Mark Casse-trained 3-year-old, Prospective completed the final quarter mile of the work in :21.80.

For the connections of Prospective, the rationale behind choosing the Blue Grass over the Wood Memorial Stakes was simple. “We are going to run Prospective in the Blue Grass rather than the Wood [Memorial] so he can run out of his own stall,” said Norman Casse, assistant trainer to his father, Mark. “He’ll ship from Churchill the morning of the race. It worked out well for him when he shipped from Palm Meadows [Training Center] to Tampa [Bay Downs] the morning of the Tampa Bay Derby.”

Dr. Kendall Hansen’s and Skychai Racing’s Hansen, champion two-year-old male of 2011, is one of 11 horses under consideration for the 88th running of the Blue Grass going 11⁄8 miles. Winner of four of five career starts, highlighted by a triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November, Hansen would be the first reigning two-year-old champion to run in the Blue Grass since the Street Sense.

Trained by Mike Maker, Hansen won the Gotham Stakes in his most recent start and is preparing for the Blue Grass at Churchill Trackside Louisville training center. Other possible contenders include Howe Great and Dullahan who were the top two finishers from the Palm Beach Stakes on the turf at Gulfstream Park on March 11. Donegal Racing’s Dullahan won the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity on the Keeneland Polytrack in 2011 and is a half brother to 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird. Dullahan was fourth behind Hansen in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Also under consideration for the Blue Grass are Adirondack King, Drill, Ever So Lucky, Gung Ho, Holy Candy, Politicallycorrect and Raconteur.

We wish all the connections and horses well on their way to the 2012 Kentucky Derby. Kentucky Derby Tours has watch many horses try to be in the 20 that make it to the Kentucky Derby. On May 5, we will be using our 2012 Kentucky Derby tickets to enjoy watching from our seats in the Clubhouse. Hope to see you all there!