Ken and Sarah Ramsey already have Dean’s Kitten going to the Kentucky Derby and this Saturday they will send Pleasant Prince, the 3-1 morning line favorite, to the starting gate of the $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes (G1) at Keeneland where the dash for cash – the all important graded stakes earnings needed to enter the Kentucky Derby starting gate – will be run in earnest.
Only the top 20 horses with the most graded stakes earnings will qualify to enter the Derby starting gate and all of the nine horses entered in the Blue Grass, with the possible exception of Interactif who currently is in 15th - place with $270,450 in graded earnings, need the money.
This will be the first race on an artificial surface for Pleasant Prince who finished second, losing by a nose, to Ice Box in the Florida Derby (G1). But a bullet work out April 4 indicates that Pleasant Prince likes the surface and that he may be ready for another good race.
The horse that interests me most in this race is 10-1 long shot Paddy O’Prado. However, there is a possibility that his odds may be bet down as it appears he is generating a lot of interest. But that does not surprise me.
A couple weeks ago, I touted Dean’s Kitten as a good long shot to win the Lane’s End Stakes (G2) which he won by 2 ½ lengths. The thing that intrigued me about Dean’s Kitten is that he was coming into the Lane’s End off of a good second-place finish in the 9-furlong Palm Beach Stakes (G3) on the turf which was run in an amazingly fast time of 1:45.40 by – you guessed it – Paddy O’Prado.
You never know if a horse will be able to transfer their turf form to artificial or dirt but if Paddy O’Prado runs anywhere near that Palm Beach Stakes number he is the most likely winner of the Blue Grass.
Paddy O’Prado has been in the money in four of his five previous starts. He really appears to be improving at the right time of year and I like his pedigree. Paddy O’Prado made his 3-year-old debut with a third-place finish in a maiden race in February and a month later he finally broke his maiden, after four previous attempts, in the Palm Beach Stakes.
It appears that Paddy O’Prado likes the Keeneland Surface and with two recent very nice works, one of them a bullet, he may be ready to run another good race.
Trainer Todd Pletcher looks to add a couple more horses to his lineup of Kentucky Derby starters when he sends Interactif (4-1) and Aikenite (4-1) to the starting gate of the Blue Grass. Of those two, I like Interactif the most. He finished a fast-closing second to Sidney’s Candy in the 8 ½ - furlong San Felipe Stakes (G2), only losing by a half length, and I believe that the stretch out to 9-furlongs will be more to his liking.
In keeping with his namesake, Odysseus comes into the Blue Grass with a win of epic proportions in the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) where he managed to somehow come from out of contention to get the nose bob in a photo-finish with Schoolyard Dreams.
The worst Odysseus has ever finished in four starts is second in his maiden debut last October and I really like his pedigree. I expect Odysseus to be competitive in the Blue Grass but I will probably only use him in the bottom of the exotics.