Updated on 04/12/2013 10:03AM

Keeneland: Java's War looks like legit Blue Grass contender

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Lou Hodges Jr./Hodges Photography
Java's War, shown winning the Sunday Silence last fall, ran second in the Tampa Bay Derby despite a poor start.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – If Verrazano is the consensus favorite for the May 4 Kentucky Derby, then shouldn’t Java’s War be taken pretty seriously, too?

Despite a ragged start last month in the March 9 Tampa Bay Derby, Java’s War rallied from last to finish second by three lengths behind Verrazano, who remained unbeaten last week in capturing the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.

Java’s War “broke in a tangle” at Tampa, noted his trainer, Ken McPeek, adding that he is excited about seeing Java’s War take his place in a full gate Saturday at Keeneland in the 89th running of the Grade 1, $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes. The 14-horse maximum was expected Wednesday when entries were to be drawn for the Keeneland showcase, which is run at 1 1/8 miles on Polytrack.

[BLUE GRASS STAKES: Get Keeneland PPs, watch video previews]

“I think he’s going to like the Poly even more than he liked the dirt at Tampa,” said McPeek, who will remain here Saturday while also being represented by Frac Daddy in the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park. “He really has been doing well. I think the Blue Grass is a really good spot for him.”

Java’s War, by War Pass, is a stretch-running homebred owned by Charles Fipke. The colt had his final work Sunday before shipping out of Gulfstream Park in Florida, breezing five furlongs in 1:00.40 in company with Frac Daddy.

Favoritism appears uncertain in this wide-open renewal of the Blue Grass, with Java’s War likely to be among those well backed, along with Uncaptured, Rydilluc, and the uncoupled Todd Pletcher duo of Charming Kitten and Palace Malice.

The Blue Grass, which offers 100 points to the winner (and 170 overall) on the new eligibility system in use toward the Kentucky Derby, is one of five graded stakes to be run here Saturday. It will be featured along with the Arkansas Derby on a 90-minute broadcast (4:30 p.m. Eastern) on the NBC Sports Network.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

Correction: In a previous version of this article, a photo caption misstated the finish position of Java's War in the Tampa Bay Derby. He was second, not third.

mikey More than 1 year ago
The horse should be one of the favorite for the 10 furlongs KD but does not have the hype machine.....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alot of Horses need points this weekend. Very interesting. I can't believe the DRF handicapper are as bad as the actually are...... I should be working for them part time and a few others on the board...
Five More than 1 year ago
Is anyone on this blog in the roadtotheroses game ? The leaderboard showing a "Mardar farm" with 600 points. How is this possible, with ONLY 5 races completed, in a 6 horse stable ? Was there a dead-heat race winner(s) ? CD have not replied to any contact messages.
rdickey249 More than 1 year ago
Picked Verrazano with all 6 spots. Cheat.
Bill Moeschler More than 1 year ago
Twin Spires has a blog by Ed DeRosa dated March 27th --- Check it out, others have noticed as well...
ctgreyhound More than 1 year ago
Not happy with the change of format this year. Sort of like the government; they keep you in the dark about many things. The incentives (i.e. adding to your stable late in the game, etc.) are gone, but then it was initiated too late in the KD process. As they say, the thrill is gone.
Drayton More than 1 year ago
Watch for Oxbow to make a statement this Saturday !
Sam More than 1 year ago
I get tired of hearing trainers, DRF "analysts," and bettors constantly whine and cite "bad luck" in a previous race as an excuse to promote a colt as a potential winner of the Derby. The only legitimate "bitch" is to draw the NO. 1 hole in the Derby. [ask Baffert, re: Luckin'AtLucky']
Jason Hart More than 1 year ago
Really? That the only legit excuse a horse can have for a bad race? Okay......I guess....
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Took the words out of my mouth. Only Baffert and the proverbial bad luck one hole bad beat story for Lookinatlucky is allowed.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Lookin at Lucky wasn't even a 10f horse. With a fair break in the Derby he probably fades to third. He won an extremely weak Preakness in a blanket finish against other horses who didn't want to run that far. When the real running started in the BC classic he got his head handed to him by Blame and Zenyatta. Heck even Fly Down nipped him at the wire.
Sam More than 1 year ago
"I think he's going to like the Poly more than he liked the dirt..." Mac, the Derby is run on DIRT!!
Wathen More than 1 year ago
the Bluegrass ain't.....lol.....$750K Grade One looks mighty nice on a Resume !!!
Marcmywords More than 1 year ago
Your best opportunity to make money is right here!...Today 04/10/13...Oaklawn Park race 6...#5 T.Thomas @ 15-1...Marcmywords
Rudy Madrigal More than 1 year ago
you don't give the eight a shot ?
Marcmywords More than 1 year ago
sure I do, my picks for race 6 are 1-5-7-8....but against this field the 8 may end up with no value and go off at a very cheap price...that's why I believe the best opportunity to make some money is the number 5
Carl More than 1 year ago
Maby nex time, gave it a shot, thanks for the shout out, u never know.
rdickey249 More than 1 year ago
Came in 5th.
Dustin More than 1 year ago
Isn't Infinite Magic running in this? Better keep an eye on him!
UKBBALLFANNO1 More than 1 year ago
Palace Malice and Java's War is the exacta for the Blue Grass Stakes. Write it down.
Phillip Rodgers More than 1 year ago
That's funny. I'd bet 5000 that doesn't happen. Its the blue grass expect madness not chalk.
dameian ramsay More than 1 year ago
I like palace malice but Idk how he gonna take to the poly. I wish they were running him in the Arkansas derby. I guess pletcher scared of d.wayne lukas and oxbow