04/17/2011 1:38PM

Blue Grass winner Brilliant Speed bound for Kentucky Derby, but runner-up Twinspired unlikely to make field

Keeneland/Coady Photography
After a series of near-misses with his horses at Gulfstream Park, trainer Tom Albertrani finally got a tight photo to go his way when Brilliant Speed got up by a nose in the Blue Grass Stakes.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The inch or two that separated the victorious Brilliant Speed from runner-up Twinspired in the 87th Blue Grass Stakes on Saturday at Keeneland might be the difference in which horse makes the field for the May 7 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

Brilliant Speed, the 19-1 winner for Live Oak Plantation, most likely will run back in the Derby after earning the $450,000 winner’s share from the $750,000 purse, whereas the $150,000 second-place check for Twinspired currently leaves him short of what would be required to make the 20-horse cutoff in the Derby field.

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Twinspired, trained by Mike Maker for a multi-way partnership, now has $197,500 in graded earnings after barely missing at 24-1 in the Blue Grass, and the colt apparently will need a number of defections to make the Derby. In the meantime, Santiva, ninth as the 2-1 favorite following a difficult trip in the Blue Grass, dropped to 21st on the unofficial list with $242,397 in graded earnings.

Tom Albertrani, trainer of Brilliant Speed, said the Dynaformer colt will remain at Keeneland and probably will ship about a week before the Derby and have one workout over the main track at Churchill. Albertrani also trains King Congie, the West Point Thoroughbreds colt who was beaten just a nose and neck when third in the Blue Grass.

“We talked after the race, and we might give the Preakness a try,” said Albertrani, although the American Turf on the May 6 Kentucky Oaks undercard is also an option.


Willcox Inn probably had the worst trip in the Blue Grass, finishing eighth as the 7-1 third choice. Trainer Mike Stidham said the colt likely will be pointed to the Mid-America series on the Arlington Park turf.


Meanwhile, at Churchill Downs, two Derby longshots had half-mile workouts Sunday morning over a fast main track. Stay Thirsty went in company in 48 seconds, while Decisive Moment, with jockey Jesus Castanon up, went the same distance in 47.40 seconds to earn a bullet for the distance.


Stay Thirsty is trained by Todd Pletcher, who is scheduled to have Uncle Mo arrive at his Churchill barn at about 9:30 a.m. Eastern on Monday, along with Oaks favorite R Heat Lightning. They were booked on an early-morning charter flight from New York.


Scheduled to arrive even earlier Monday is Mucho Macho Man, shipping overnight by van from Florida. The colt is expected around 6 a.m.


One other Derby prospect, Animal Kingdom, worked five furlongs Saturday over the Polytrack at Keeneland, going in 59.20 seconds. The Team Valor International colt has a Derby spot clinched after winning the $500,000 Vinery Spiral on March 26.