09/27/2010 9:33AM

Blame all set for Gold Cup after Monday blowout


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Whitney Handicap winner Blame completed preparations for Saturday’s Grade 1, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park with a half-mile workout Monday morning in 48 seconds over Keeneland’s Polytrack.

With exercise rider Casey Chavez aboard, Blame went his first quarter in 25 seconds and his second quarter in 23, according to trainer Al Stall, who noted it was a cool, damp morning at the Lexington, Ky., track, which made the synthetic surface lively.

"Comfortable, motionless rider, he galloped out nicely on his own," Stall said by phone from Keeneland. "He came back nice, we’re on schedule."

Blame, who has won five consecutive graded stakes including the Grade 1 Stephen Foster and Grade 3 William Donald Schaefer this year, will be flown to New York from Kentucky on Thursday.

Stall said everything has gone perfectly for Blame since his head victory over Quality Road in the Whitney at Saratoga on Aug. 7. Blame worked twice at Saratoga before leaving for Keeneland where he has had four additional breezes over the Polytrack.

"The weather broke as soon as he got here," Stall said. "He had one acclimating work to the Poly, two very strong works in company, and a little blowout."

The Gold Cup will be Blame’s first try at 1 1/4 miles, but, Stall said, "We’re dying to run him a mile and a quarter."

Entries for the Gold Cup as well as the other four Grade 1 races on Saturday will be taken on Wednesday.

With riders, the Gold Cup field should include: Blame (Garrett Gomez), Fly Down (Jose Lezcano), Haynesfield (Ramon Dominguez), Hold Me Back (Rajiv Maragh), Mythical Power (John Velazquez), Rail Trip (Cornelio Velasquez), and Tranquil Manner (Alan Garcia).

Musket Man, runner-up to Quality Road in the Met Mile, spiked a temperature on Saturday and missed a workout at Monmouth Park, which forced his connections to scrap plans to run him in the Gold Cup, according to trainer Derek Ryan. Musket Man will now be aimed at the $300,000 Monmouth Cup on Oct. 9, Ryan said.