The Fair Grounds press office said today that Stanford, trained by Todd Pletcher, for the Louisiana Derby on Saturday.
Last out, the bay colt stepped up from six-furlong allowance company and finished second under the wire to stable mate and Florida Derby-bound Materiality in the $60,000 Islamorada Handicap, beaten 5 3/4 lengths. He was disqualified to sixth for veering out sharply when turning into the backstretch.
Stanford, owned by a partnership of Stonestreet Farm and the principals of Coolmore -- John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith -- put in his final work for the Louisiana Derby on Saturday at Palm Beach Downs. He breezed a bullet half-mile in :48 (1/30).
Mr. Z Update
It's blinkers off and Kent Desormeaux on for Mr. Z in the Derby at Fair Grounds.
“I think he’ll be more relaxed this time,” trainer D. Wayne Lukas said. “I took the blinkers off for this one, and he’s been training without them and that’s helped. He will probably still be forwardly placed.
“We’re coming in on Wednesday, and that’ll give him a couple days to school in the paddock and the usual,” Lukas continued. “We’re looking forward to being there. We’re going to work him on Tuesday before we leave Oaklawn. Just a little maintenance work.”
Out of a half-sister to Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Chief Bearhart, Mr. Z has lived up to his impressive pedigree with six graded stakes placings, including two grade I events. Mr. Z’s best performance was arguably his third-place effort – beaten a head – in the Los Alamitos Futurity on Dec. 20 behind one of the favorites for the Kentucky Derby, Dortmund. The stretch at Los Al is 1,350 feet, comparable to the 1,346 feet of Fair Grounds.
“I think he’ll do fine at the Fair Grounds,” Lukas said. “He’s probably the most seasoned horse in the field, and he deserves to get one of these sooner or later. There’s one in his future, that’s for sure.”
Keen Ice Ready
According to trainer Dale Romans, Keen Ice has exited his final work well. On Friday at Gulfstream Park, he breezed five furlongs in 1:02 (9/25).
Last out, the son of Curlin was third by less than three lengths to International Star in the Risen Star Stakes. Leading local rider James Graham, who was aboard for the first time that day, is expected to ride again.
Edited Fair Grounds release with additional content by Dick Downey