04/13/2011 11:29AM

Blue Grass Stakes: Santiva in post 3

Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Santiva, with Shaun Bridgmohan up, wins the Kentucky Jockey Club.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Santiva was listed as the 3-1 favorite after being assigned post 3 in a field of 12 3-year-olds entered to run Saturday in one of the last remaining Kentucky Derby prep races, the 87th running of the Grade 1, $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.

Santiva, with $240,254 in graded earnings, is the most accomplished horse in the field, having finished second here last fall in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity before winning the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs. The colt worked Saturday in south Florida before arriving here Sunday to make final preparations for the Blue Grass, which goes at 1 1/8 miles on Polytrack.

BLUE GRASS STAKES: View past replays and watch the race live this Saturday

“I’m very, very happy with the colt,” said trainer Eddie Kenneally. “The fact he ran well here in October, we wanted to make sure we had a fresh horse for the Blue Grass.”

Julien Leparoux has the mount on Santiva.

The next morning-line choices for the Blue Grass are King Congie (post 2, Rajiv Maragh) at 5-1, followed by Brilliant Speed (post 5, Joel Rosario) and Wilkinson (post 9, Jamie Theriot), both at 6-1.

Willcox Inn (post 8, Rosie Napravnik), third in the Breeders’ Futurity last fall, is one of a handful of mid-range wagering choices at 10-1.

“We wanted to draw somewhere in the middle, and that’s where we are,” said trainer Mike Stidham.

Todd Pletcher, a two-time winner of the Blue Grass with Bandini (2005) and Momba (2008), entered three horses: Sensational Slam (post 6, Jose Lezcano), Praetereo (post 10, Edgar Prado), and Queen’splatekitten (post 12, John Velazquez).

Praetereo is owned by the Starlight Partners of Jack Wolf. “He’s been a slow learner,” said Wolf. “But off his last two races, he might continue on. The further he goes, the better.”

One notable absentee from the Blue Grass is Swift Warrior, a handy winner of the Rushaway Stakes at Turfway Park last out for trainer John Terranova. A First Samurai colt, he was declared out after being diagnosed with a condylar fracture of the right foreleg following a Wednesday morning workout at Keeneland.

Garrett Gomez, who was scheduled to ride Swift Warrior, was able to pick up the mount on Joes Blazing Aaron for trainer Mike Maker, who also entered Twinspired. Maker won the Blue Grass last year with 40-1 shot Stately Victor, the longest-priced winner in race history.

The Blue Grass is widely regarded as a key Derby prep, although only one Derby winner (Street Sense, 2007) in the last 15 years has run in it, and it has been 20 years (Strike the Gold, 1991) since the Blue Grass winner also won the Derby.

The Blue Grass will air live on TVG, with live streaming available at DRF.com. Post time is 5:45 p.m. Eastern.

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