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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Top Blue Grass Runners Well


Irap will stay at Keeneland probably until Kentucky Derby week and is doing well the day after winning the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes.

“He will stay at Keeneland and probably do the Nyquist thing and go to Churchill Downs the week of the Kentucky Derby,” Jack Sisterson said before deparing for Europe on another job he has been doing. O'Neill stable staff will look after Irap.

Trainer Chad Brown said Toyota Blue Grass runner-up Practical Joke came out of the race well.

“Practical Joke ran terrific,” Brown said. “He had a little bit of a wide trip but really ran well. I was encouraged to see him in a two-turn race with a sustained run, making up ground in the lane, not losing ground. He gives me some optimism to keep going forward towards the Derby.”

Brown said he hadn't decided when to ship Practical Joke to Louisville.

McCraken jogged once around the main track at 6:00 Sunday morning with exercise Yoni Orantes aboard. Trainer Ian Wilkes plans to van McCraken to Churchill Downs Monday.

“I thought he was too fresh and too much on the bit, and that is where missing that race (Tampa Bay Derby) showed up,” Wilkes said. “He was a little too keen.

“I told Carl (Nafzger) last night that I couldn’t get that ‘Nafzger Blue Grass Monkey’ off my back,” Wilkes said with a laugh. “I wanted to get a good race, and I was very pleased with the race. He didn’t back down. He didn’t quit. You want to see what happens when he gets in against the big boys, and he pushed back. We wanted to win, but maybe he learned something yesterday.”

Wilkes was asked if he was disappointed McCraken finished behind a maiden.

“That doesn’t matter. They all have a chance to beat you,” Wilkes said. “It got the monkey off my back of being undefeated. That adds a little pressure. Now that that is over, you can concentrate on getting the job done.”

J Boys Echo was already stabled at Churchill Downs and has been taken back to his barn with Dale Romans.

Plans are up in the air for Tapwrit.

“He is good this morning and will stay here for awhile,” said Todd Pletcher assistant trainer Ginny DePasquale. “He may go over to Churchill Downs; I don’t envision him going back to Florida. He just didn’t show up yesterday. He was totally different compared to Tampa where he was on the muscle.”

Edited Keeneland release


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