- Wow, did you see Minister’s Bid win the 6th at Keeneland Thursday? He’s another high priced Oxley-Ward horse; a $750,000 yearling at Keeneland 2004. It was his first start, and he was 6-1 morning line, and dead on the board at 9-1 as the fans went for Pletcher’s Minidrop, who was dead last down the backstretch and finished 9th. Always nice to be last at Keeneland, especially at 4-5. You should check this race out. Minister’ Bid (Deputy Minister)was a bit left at the gate, trailed the field briefly before moving up to 10th. After settling in, he took off and flew by the field effortlessly on the turn while five wide. After getting the lead, he goofed around a bit and bore in, but still drew off to win by nine in 1:17 for 6 ½ furlongs, the final sixteenth in 6.23 seconds. Minister’s Bid is out of the graded stakes winner Princess Pietrina (Spectacular Bid).
Perhaps we’ll see this one in the Lexington. John Ward, of course, will send Strong Contender into the Blue Grass on Saturday, and Nick commented:
I still don’t understand the love affair with Strong Contender, if I am missing something tell me about it Alan. It will be almost two months since his last start when he crushed a one other than allowance field in a one turn mile effort at Gulfstream.Well, I have to say that Nick has a good point and I freely admit that I’ve more or less fallen for the hype on this horse. Nick is right; if you look at his pp’s, without the hype, he’s just an allowance winner trying stakes and two turns for the first time, and he’ll probably have to improve 5 or 6 Beyer points in the process off a two month layoff if he’s going to win. But I think he has an aura about him; he was very classy in winning his three year old debut, his first race in six months. His works have reportedly been spectacular, and I respect John Ward as a knowledgeable horseman who would refrain from doing anything reckless.....at least if he didn’t really think he had the horse to warrant it.
I’ve never been crazy about Bluegrass Cat; I feel that he’s beaten a bunch of second stringers. First Samurai could be the controlling speed, but 8-5 would be too cheap to accept on a horse who has to prove he can go this far. So I would bet Strong Contender at 4-1. Not at 5-2; I’d bet Bluegrass Cat if he gets away at something close to 7-2. Remember, he was very near the top of many people's Derby lists, and he may have had a legitimate excuse in the Tampa Bay Derby so I'd take a look if he's third choice. It’s not really a great betting race unless you want to make a case for one of the others.
Byron King of the Form is hoping for an overlay on Bluegrass Cat, and says that horses shipping into Keeneland from Tampa Bay don’t get much respect.
Through Thursday, horses that last raced at Tampa Bay had compiled a Keeneland record of 5 wins, 2 seconds, and 3 thirds from 19 starts. They also won at prices - all but one of the five winners paid $15 or more, including Bushfire, who paid $32.20 when she won the Ashland. [Daily Racing Form]- Also at Keeneland, Perfect Drift ran second on the turf at even money in his debut as a 7 year old.
- Once the Florida Derby is done, Gulfstream fades from the consciousness, at least that of this horseplayer. The top trainers and jockeys were out of there in a flash. One owner who probably wishes he wasn’t there either is Michael Bone, who put in a $45,000 claim for Katy Texas, the 7-10 dropdown favorite for Edward Plesa in the 6th at the Gulf on Thursday. She was traveling OK in second down the backstretch, but she started to drop back around the turn, and then stopped suddenly and was eased. Talk about your worst nightmare, man! You claim a horse and hear Vic Stauffer say – “Something’s gone wrong with Katy Texas..” We hope she’s OK.