03/04/2013 5:15PM

Fair Grounds: Up With the Birds targets Keeneland stakes, Queen's Plate

Lynn Roberts/Hodges Photography
Up With the Birds (left) won the Black Gold Stakes in his first start of 2013.

Up With the Birds, a determined quarter-length winner of the Black Gold Stakes on Saturday in his 3-year-old debut, is likely to start next at the Keeneland meet, trainer Malcolm Pierce said Monday.

Being an Ontario-bred, Up With the Birds, a Sam-Son Farms homebred, has the Queen’s Plate in July at Woodbine as a primary summer goal. But that does not mean he won’t have a chance at significant races in the interim. Pierce said Up With the Birds would be considered for three Keeneland stakes: the Transylvania on turf and the Blue Grass and Lexington on Polytrack.

“It will probably be the Blue Grass, if everything is going right,” Pierce said.

Up With the Birds won a maiden race and the $250,000 Coronation Cup for Ontario-bred 2-year-olds last year on Woodbine’s Polytrack. He made his turf debut in the Black Gold and collared Animal Style after making a long, wide run on a soggy turf course.

“I was a little worried running on that soft turf, but he seemed to come out of it fine,” Pierce said. “He’d had plenty of works since he came back from having 30 days off in Ocala. They don’t really lose that much in 30 days, and he had plenty of miles on him before he took a break. He’s good-sized, got great weight on him now. He’s easy to train.”

The Pierce-trained, Ontario-bred 3-year-old filly Deceptive Vision also could race next at Keeneland. Deceptive Vision won a first-level allowance race on a sloppy track Feb. 22 and came out of that race with a bruised foot. Pierce said the relatively minor problem has improved, and Deceptive Vision could start in the Appalachian on turf or the Ashland on Polytrack in April at Keeneland.

◗ With less than a month left in the meet, Rosie Napravnik has all but wrapped up her third straight Fair Grounds riding title. Through Sunday, Napravnik had a 25-win lead, 86-61, over second-place James Graham.