| ||LinkBack||Thread Tools|
Peace Rules adds to Frankel's riches
By MARTY McGEE
Peace Rules turns back Brancusi in the stretch enroute to a 3 1/2-length tally in the Grade 1, $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday.
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Everyone should be fortunate enough to have a second-stringer this good. One hour after his more heralded stablemate, Empire Maker, won the Wood Memorial, Peace Rules rolled to a 3 1/2-length victory in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday, seemingly assuring trainer Bobby Frankel of having the top two favorites for the 129th Kentucky Derby.
Peace Rules, ridden by Edgar Prado, broke cleanly from post 2 in a field of nine 3-year-olds before taking command into the first turn of the 1 1/8-mile Blue Grass. He established a reasonable pace while remaining closest to the rail, reeling off fractions of 23.40 seconds, 47.10, and 1:11.33.
As the rest of the field struggled to keep up, only Brancusi, an 8-1 shot ridden by Tony Farina, was able to get close. But once Prado asked his colt for his best in midstretch, Peace Rules pulled clear to win in 1:51.73.
Peace Rules returned $3.20 as the heaviest favorite to win the Blue Grass since Pulpit (2-5) in 1997. Offlee Wild, the 5-1 third choice, had good inside position throughout but showed no closing kick when finishing another 4 1/2 lengths back in third. Crowned Dancer was another 10 1/2 lengths back in fourth, followed by Acceptable Venture, 5-1 second choice Lion Tamer, Lots of Sizzle, Ten Cents a Shine, and Great Notion. Badge of Silver was an early scratch.
The final clocking for Peace Rules, who won the Louisiana Derby in his previous start for owner Edmund Gann, was the slowest in the Blue Grass since 1988. The track was rated fast but produced slow times throughout the card.
Frankel, who watched the Blue Grass from Aqueduct, where Empire Maker won the Wood by a half-length, said he was happy with the Blue Grass victory but repeated his concern that Peace Rules may have more of a problem with the Derby distance of 1 1/4 miles than his stablemate. Peace Rules is by Jules, a young sire who was known mostly as a miler type.
"He is a very game horse," said Frankel.
Gann acknowledged at a post-race press conference that Peace Rules is "number two" in the Frankel stable behind Empire Maker, a Juddmonte Farms homebred. But if Empire Maker somehow "doesn't make it, who knows? We would love to put him in the Derby."
An objection against Brancusi by jockey Kent Desormeaux, who rode Crowned Dancer, for alleged interference into the first turn was disallowed.
This was the second straight year that Prado won the Grade 1 Blue Grass on the odds-on favorite. He rode Harlan's Holiday ($3.40) in 2002. Prado said his saddle slipped forward on Peace Rules on the first turn but that the incident was of no major consequence.
* No Jacket Required ($26.80) emerged from a pack of horses in deep stretch to capture the $113,700 Shakertown Stakes in a blanket finish.
Testify finished second, a neck behind the winner and a head before Abderian, the 9-5 favorite. No Jacket Required, ridden by Brice Blanc, had been claimed for $40,000 from his previous start by trainer Tom Amoss on behalf of owner Temple Webber Jr.