Arawak, Blended Citizen: According to assistant trainer Jack Sisterson, the Doug O’Neill trainees are following the same training plan used at Keeneland for Nyquist before the Kentucky Derby. This morning, galloped on the main track with exercise rider Jonny Garcia aboard. Garcia also was Nyquist’s exercise rider during his Keeneland stay two years ago.“
They both galloped an easy mile and a half,” assistant Jack Sisterson said. “That would be their regular training regimen besides working or jogging. With Nyquist having been here, we sort of did just exactly what he did and copied that method. That seemed to work out pretty well, so we’re not going to change anything there. They’ll do exactly the same going into the race, and walk Saturday morning.”
Arawak drew post 14 in the Toyota Blue Grass. Blended Citizen drew post 7.
“If we can try and visualize the race before the race, we’re pretty sure Arawak is going to be forwardly placed, and Blended Citizen is going to be coming from off it,” Sisterson said.
Sisterson was at Keeneland last spring occasionally with another O’Neill horse, Irap, who became the first maiden to win the Toyota Blue Grass. Irap went on to win the Ohio Derby and Indiana Derby and finish second in the Pennsylvania Derby. However, he didn't run well in the Kentucky Derby
“To compare them to Irap, Irap was such a big-hearted horse and tried every time,” Sisterson said. “It was hard to take away the heart that that horse had. Both of these horses show like they’ve got some heart, but Irap was such a unique horse when it came to that. It’s hard to replace that.”
Flameaway: He visited the paddock and galloped on the main track with exercise rider Kim Carroll aboard for trainer Mark Casse. Carroll’s husband is Casse’s assistant David Carroll. Last October, Flameaway won the Dixiana Bourbon, which was rained off the turf and held on the sloppy-sealed dirt track.
Good Magic: For the second consecutive morning, the 2-1 morning-line favorite Good Magic was on the track after the morning renovation break and galloped about 1 3/8 mile under exercise rider Walter Malasquez. Chad Brown trains Good Magic, who arrived at Keeneland on Monday.
Gotta Go: The Ian Wilkes trainee jogged shortly after 6 am with exercise rider Carlos Deyan aboard. Gotta Go breezed a half-mile in :49.60 yesterday.
Kanthaka: Arrived in Lexington from California by air today for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. Yesterday, assistant trainer Christina Jelm said, "We know he has a ton of speed, and there is stamina in his pedigree, so we think we're in the right place."
Machismo: He schooled in the Paddock and galloped 1 1/2 mile under jockey Jake Radosevich for trainer Anthony Quartarolo. Word had it that Machismo would defect and go in the Wood Memorial. A tweet by David Grening this morning said that the Wood is no longer being considered but that connections are looking at possibly going in the Arkansas Derby a week from Saturday.
Quip: He may have a home-court advantage for Saturday’s race from being a local allowance winner in October and from being based most of last year at Keeneland. Trainer Rodolphe Brisset has stalls in the Rice Road portion of the barn area.
“It is a big advantage that he has spent so much time at Keeneland,” Brisset said. “We know he likes the track. Since we came back (from wintering at Fair Grounds and Tampa Bay Downs), he knows he is in familiar surroundings.”
On Wednesday, Quip visited the paddock as part of his morning exercise that included a 11/2-mile gallop on the main track with Brisset in the saddle.
“He is acting very good, and we like how he is training,” Brisset said.
Quip is the co-third choice at 6-1 on the morning line and will be ridden by Florent Geroux, who has been aboard for all four of his races. WinStar bred the son of Distorted Humor, whose three wins include the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby last time out on March 10.
Plans call for Quip to gallop on the main track Thursday with a brief stop to stand in the starting gate, Brisset’s usual routine two days before a race. When training hours conclude, Quip might also be led through the paddock again.
Zing Zang: He arrived at Keeneland last night by van from Oaklawn Park and today walked the shedrow at trainer Steve Asmussen’s barn. Monday morning, he worked four furlongs in 51:60, breezing, 12 of 15 at the distance at Oaklawn.
Edited Keeneland notes with additional content by Dick Downey