04/15/2013 2:12PM

Keeneland: Rydilluc headed back to grass


LEXINGTON, Ky. – For a fleeting moment, Gary Contessa had visions of roses. But then Rydilluc began tiring under Edgar Prado in the final furlong of the Blue Grass Stakes, and soon it was back to reality.

That reality is turf, not dirt, as Rydilluc is out of the Kentucky Derby picture and likely will run next in the May 25 Arlington Classic or the new Penn Mile on June 1 at Penn National, Contessa said Monday.

“Like we said all along, this was a one-shot deal,” he said. “Win and we continue along and try the dirt, or else go back to the grass if we get beat.”

Rydilluc, the lukewarm 7-2 favorite in a full field of 14 in the 89th Blue Grass on Saturday at Keeneland, looked every part an energized winner he took a clear lead past the quarter pole. But his early efforts took a toll, and he wound up fourth behind Java’s War, Palace Malice, and Charming Kitten.

“He ran a big, big race, no question,” said Contessa, adding that there is “maybe a one-percent chance” Rydilluc might run in the American Turf on Kentucky Oaks Day, May 3, “so we’ll keep him at Keeneland for the next few days just in case. But more than likely the colt will go back to New York soon.”

Like Java’s War, sixth-place finisher Balance the Books, emerged from the Blue with a bloody mouth, but his wound also was a superficial one, said trainer Chad Brown. “He just bit his tongue,” said Brown.

Balance the Books actually was right alongside Java’s War at the eighth pole when he was rallying from ninth, but obviously his final furlong was not as effective.

“We’re going back to the grass with him,” said Brown.

Meanwhile, trainer Mark Casse said he had no excuses for his disappointing pair of Dynamic Sky (ninth) and Uncaptured (10th).

“Both horses are good,” said Casse. “The only thing hurt is our pride.”

Business was terrific once again on Blue Grass Day. The attendance of 37,161 was second-highest in track history, trailing only the 40,617 record set last year on Blue Grass Day.ace.