04/06/2004 11:00PM

Lion Heart tops 9-horse Blue Grass field


Hollywood Futurity winner Lion Heart will headline a wide-open nine-horse field in Saturday's 80th running of the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. Post positions were drawn Wednesday for the 1 1/8 mile $750,000 race for 3-year-olds, with 5-2 morning-line favorite Lion Heart getting post No. 6. Mike Smith will have the mount.

Lion Heart will have plenty of competition in the Blue Grass, which shapes up as perhaps this year's premier prep race leading up to the Kentucky Derby on May 1. In addition to Lion Heart, the field also includes Grade 1 winners Birdstone and Breeders' Cup Juvenile champion Action This Day, who are both exiting disappointing sub-par efforts. Birdstone drew the rail and is listed at 8-1 odds with Edgar Prado aboard. Action This Day will break from the two-hole with David Flores and is listed at 9-2 on the morning line.

Other Blue Grass contenders include Bob Baffert trainee Preachinatthebar who exits a win in the Grade 2 San Felipe, and the Todd Pletcher trained Limehouse who won the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby last time out. Preachinatthebar drew post No. 8 and is listed at 4-1 odds with Javier Santiago aboard. Limehouse will break from post No. 4 and is listed at 6-1 with jockey Jose Santos in the irons. Mustanfar, who was just a neck behind Limehouse in the Tampa Bay Derby, is listed at 15-1 in the morning-line odds for the Blue Grass. He drew post No. 7 and will be ridden by Richard Migliore.

In addition to Birdstone, trainer Nick Zito will also saddle The Cliff's Edge, who exits a third-place finish in the Florida Derby. The Nick Zito trainee is listed as the co-second choice at 4-1, and will break from post No. 3 with regular rider Shane Sellers aboard.

The Blue Grass field will be completed by That's An Outrage (post 5, 30-1) and Breakaway (post 9, 12-1).


Grade 1, $750,000
Keeneland, 1 1/8 miles

1 BIRDSTONE N. Zito E. Prado 8-1
2 ACTION THIS DAY R. Mandella D. Flores 9-2
3 THE CLIFF'S EDGE N. Zito S. Sellers 4-1
4 LIMEHOUSE T. Pletcher J. Santos 6-1
5 THAT'S AN OUTRAGE M. Puhich M. Guidry 30-1
6 LION HEART P. Biancone M. Smith 5-2
7 MUSTANFAR K. McLaughlin R. Migliore 15-1
8 PREACHINATTHEBAR B. Baffert J. Santiago 4-1
9 BREAKAWAY N. Howard R. Albarado 12-1