04/10/2013 2:35PM

Blue Grass Stakes: Contessa considers post 13 lucky for Rydilluc

Coady Photography
Trainer Gary Contessa says Rydilluc has been training extremely well, including this exercise last weekend at Keeneland.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The number 13 is supposed to be such bad luck around the racetrack that most stable areas don’t even have a Barn 13. But for trainer Gary Contessa – who clearly is not afflicted with triskaidekaphobia, or the fear of 13 – what happened Wednesday morning at the post-position draw for the 89th Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland can’t be seen as anything but good luck.

Contessa was asked Tuesday on an NTRA teleconference call what post he would prefer for his Blue Grass starter, Rydilluc, and he responded “13.” Sure enough, Rydilluc was assigned post 13 in an oversubscribed field entered in the 1 1/8-mile Polytrack race.

“The race is on April 13, 2013,” said Contessa, a 16-time meet titlist on his New York home circuit. “I was born on the 13th [in October 1957]. I’m not superstitious, but that’s not a bad post.”

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Further noting that the filly counterpart to the Blue Grass, the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes last Saturday, was won by Emollient from post 13, Contessa continued: “Funny thing, but everything has come up 13’s with this horse. I told my assistant [Marcelo Arenas] we got 13, and he couldn’t believe it.”

Whatever his post, Rydilluc has been sensational as a turf horse, going straight through his maiden and first-level allowance conditions with flair before winning his stakes debut, the March 3 Palm Beach on the Gulfstream Park turf, by an impressive 3 1/2 lengths.

Contessa told the crowd assembled for the post-position breakfast draw that he is extremely happy with the way Rydilluc has trained since the Palm Beach.

“He’s been phenomenal,” he said. “If this race was on turf, I’d be incredibly confident.”

As for how turf runners often do well on synthetics, Contessa said: “Well, I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and I still haven’t figured out Polytrack. But we’re going to give it our best.”