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April 14, 2014
Although rain and chill were back by Monday, a weekend of terrific weather yielded a combined three-day attendance of 74,788 at Keeneland, including 39,722 on Blue Grass Day, the second-highest in track history.
The Lexington Stakes is the last race with eligibility points toward the Kentucky Derby, but that will be a moot point Saturday when the 1 1/16-mile race is run at Keeneland.
Jockey Junior Alvarado, sidelined since breaking his ankle on Dec. 22 in a gate mishap at Aqueduct, has been getting on horses for two weeks and plans to return to race-riding here on Saturday.
Kid Cruz, who scratched out of the Wood Memorial due to a sore shoulder, will likely run in Saturday’s Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico as a possible stepping-stone to the Preakness.
Strapping Groom, fifth in the Grade 1 Carter in his last start, will get some time off before returning to take aim at a repeat victory in the Grade 1 Forego Handicap at Saratoga, trainer David Jacobson said.
A precautionary quarantine remained in place on Barn 10 at Aqueduct on Monday as officials awaited the results on tests conducted on a horse who died in that barn last Thursday.
The two best races on Wednesday’s program at Aqueduct are scheduled for the turf. But with rain in the forecast Tuesday, there is a real possibility one or both first-level allowance races could be moved to the dirt.
If trainer Gary Contessa were a gambling man, he’d double down on his chances to make the Derby with his 3-year-old Uncle Sigh, who currently sits 21st on the list of horses with qualifying points for the May 3 Kentucky Derby.
Although Saturday’s Grade 3, $500,000 Illinois Derby at Hawthorne does not offer qualifying points to the Kentucky Derby, the race is set to have a possible Kentucky Derby starter in the lineup Saturday in Midnight Hawk.
Looking down the list of stables that have raced at Tampa Bay Downs this season, it’s evident there is a good bit of depth in the training ranks.