Updated on 09/16/2011 6:52AM

Kind of blue blood: Booklet

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Michael J. Marten/Horsephotos
Booklet was a front-running winner of last Saturday's Fountain of Youth Stakes.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - John Oxley said that one of the reasons he decided to purchase Booklet* is because the colt is inbred to the great sire Bold Ruler, but another reason has to do with a friendship that dates back more than 50 years.

Oxley was a schoolmate of John Sellers, who went on to become a Kentucky Derby-winning jockey with Carry Back, and now makes his living as a bloodstock agent in Florida. It was Sellers who first presented Booklet to Oxley, and Oxley ran from there. He researched the colt's pedigree, and decided to go ahead with the purchase, even though others were skeptical because Booklet is far from an imposing individual.

"He has an uncertain pedigree, until you look deeper," Oxley said of Booklet, who is by Notebook, a son of Well Decorated. "The bloodlines are there. He's inbred 4 x 4 to Bold Ruler, which is probably where he gets a lot of his speed, and you've got names like Tom Rolfe, Ribot, and Tom Fool on top.

"His bottom side traces to Count Fleet, Alibhai, and War Admiral. I thought that if he looks the part, with those key bloodlines he might outrun what's on the page. He's well balanced, and he's got speed. I liked his record. He had won four of five when he was presented to us. We're just going to take it one step at a time, but we're enjoying each step."

Booklet was a front-running winner of last Saturday's Fountain of Youth Stakes, his second consecutive stakes victory this meet at Gulfstream Park. He won the Holy Bull Stakes last month. The Holy Bull was his first start for Oxley, who purchased Booklet from trainer Steve Klesaris and owners Phil and Marcia Cohen, and turned the colt over to trainer John Ward Jr., with whom Oxley teamed up to win last year's Kentucky Derby with Monarchos.

Sellers is a newcomer to the team. He and Oxley were classmates from grade school until high school; they graduated from Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, Okla., class of 1955. But they lost contact with one another for a number of years, as Sellers became one of the nation's leading jockeys.

"I remember when John won the Kentucky Derby in 1961 with Carry Back," Oxley said. "I've followed racing since my high school days. Johnny started riding then, but I wasn't really around racing in those days."

The success of his Oxley Petroleum - an oil and gas exploration company - gave Oxley the wherewithal to purchase top-class racehorses. In addition to Booklet and Monarchos, Oxley and his wife, Debby, also campaigned the champion older mare Beautiful Pleasure.

The retirement last month of Monarchos was a disappointment for Oxley, and though Booklet has taken away some of the sting, it would be a reach to say he has replaced the Derby winner.

"You never know what's going to come in this game," Oxley said. "Thankfully his injury wasn't severe. He's fine as far as his overall soundness. When he got to Claiborne Farm, Seth Hancock sent me a fax saying he looked as good as a horse could look. Now he'll move on to Chapter 2, his career as a stallion."

Oxley still lives in Tulsa, but since the 1960's has spent winters in the Boca Raton and Palm Beach areas. He and his wife are in south Florida from December through April 1. In addition to the races, Oxley expresses his passion for horses by competing in polo matches.

"The weather down here spoils you. It's not like anywhere else," he said.

In other Derby developments:

* After thinking it over for a few days, trainer Kenny McPeek has decided not to take * to Dubai for the $2 million United Arab Emirates Derby next month. The Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds, and Turfway's Spiral Stakes are under consideration for his next start.

* Michael Tabor, co-owner of Johannesburg, told The New York Daily News that Johannesburg will have one prep race in Ireland in April before coming to the Kentucky Derby.

* Because Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager closed two minutes before the start Sunday of the Risen Star Stakes, Churchill Downs officials will consider having a later closing time for future editions of the wager. The wager closed at 4:30 p.m. Eastern time the first three years, and moved to 5:30 this year. "It's an arbitrary thing," said John Asher, a Churchill Downs vice-president, who helps pick the individual horses for the future wager. "It's very much under review. We want the players to enjoy the bet, and let them make the best possible decision. We're only four years in. It's still a wager in its infancy, still a work in progress. I can tell you this - we are going to take a long look at it."

- additional reporting by Marty McGee

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