03/12/2011 3:40PM

Blue Grass rather than Louisiana Derby next for Santiva

Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
In a change of plans, Santiva will not run in the Louisiana Derby, but will instead be pointed to the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.– Trainer Eddie Kenneally worked his Derby candidate Santiva an easy five furlongs in 1:02 at Palm Meadows on Saturday, then confirmed his intention to point the Grade 2 winner for the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland rather than the $1 million Louisiana Derby as originally planned.

Santiva, who defeated Astrology to capture his 2-year-old finale in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Cup at Churchill Downs, finished second behind Mucho Macho Man making his 3-year-old debut in the Grade 2 Risen Star and it appeared the two were destined for a rematch on March 26 in the Louisiana Derby.

“He ran at Keeneland in October and ran super,” Kenneally said by phone from Tampa Bay Downs, referring to Santiva’s second-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity. “He likes the synthetic and the Blue Grass is a Grade 1. I was real happy with the way he worked today. He’s doing great.”

Santiva is the second locally based 3-year-old who defected from the Louisiana Derby this week. Trainer Ken McPeek took Rogue Romance out of consideration for the Grade 2 race due to a bruised foot on Wednesday.

That leaves Risen Star winner Mucho Macho Man as the only south Florida-based horse expected to make the trip to Louisiana. Mucho Macho Man also worked on Saturday, cruising five furlongs in 1:00.80 under jockey Rajiv Maragh at Gulfstream.

McPeek said Saturday he is also leaning towards the Blue Grass now with Rogue Romance, who missed his scheduled work here Saturday because of the minor foot injury.

“It’s nothing serious, he should be able to work again next Saturday,” said McPeek. “We’re looking at both the Arkansas Derby and Blue Grass but at the moment I’d say the Blue Grass was the more likely of the two.”

KENTUCKY DERBY NEWS: Track all the 3-year-olds on the Triple Crown trail

McPeek did let his Kentucky Oaks prospect Kathmanblu stretch her legs a little on Saturday. Kathmanblu worked five furlongs in 1:02.61 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:16.36 as she continues to prepare for her role as the heavy favorite in the $500,000 Fair Grounds Oaks on March 26.

“It was pretty basic, she finished in 11 and change,” McPeek said of Kathmanblu’s work.”

Another potential Kentucky Derby contender to work here Saturday was Flashpoint, sensational winner of the seven-furlong Hutcheson Stakes two weeks ago. With exercise rider Michelle Nevin aboard, Flashpoint breezed a comfortable half-mile in 48.41 seconds, his final quarter-mile in 24.12. Trainer Rick Dutrow is targeting either the $1 million Florida Derby or seven-furlong Swale on April 3 for Flashpoint’s next start.