Dominican Pulls Upset in Blue Grass Stakes
Dominican pulled off a huge surprise by overtaking Street Sense at the wire and winning the Blue Grass Stakes yesterday at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky.
The thrilling victory — the first four finishers were separated by a half-length — put Dominican on the road to the Kentucky Derby in three weeks. Street Sense already has a ticket punched for Churchill Downs.
With a four-horse battle going on in the stretch, Street Sense moved ahead for an instant before Dominican put his nose in front at the end.
“It was a very strangely run race,” Street Sense trainer Carl Nafzger said. “He ran a really good race. I actually thought we had it won.”
But this time, the nose went to Dominican. In last month’s Tampa Bay Derby, Street Sense won by a nose over Any Given Saturday
Teuflesberg, who led from the start, still was ahead at the top of the stretch. But Zanjero found running room on the inside with Great Hunter and Street Sense moving into contention in the middle of the track.
Just as Street Sense went ahead, he quickly ducked in and lost his chance.
“He made too many mistakes,” Nafzger said. “He got the lead, he ducked in . . . and if he doesn’t make those mistakes he wins. I don’t know why he did that.”
At one point, it appeared Teuflesberg impeded Great Hunter in the stretch scramble, but no foul was claimed.
Zanjero finished third, a head behind Street Sense, and Teuflesberg was another head back in fourth place. Great Hunter, also headed to the Derby, was fifth, followed by Time Squared and Love Dubai.
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Dominican
. won for the third time in seven starts for trainer Darrin Miller. Dominican covered the 11⁄ miles in 1 minute 51.33 seconds.
8 K ARKANSAS DERBY: Curlin stormed down the stretch to another lopsided victory, winning in Hot Springs, Ark., by a record margin for his third win in three career starts.
The chestnut colt had no trouble overtaking fast-starting Deadly Dealer around the second turn, then pulled away. He finished 101⁄ lengths ahead of second-place Storm in
2 May in Oaklawn Park’s final Kentucky Derby prep race.
Curlin won the Rebel at Oaklawn last month by 51⁄ lengths and cruised to a
4 123⁄ 4- length victory in his seven-furlong debut at Gulfstream Park in February. Still, he was considered a bit unproven coming into the $1 million Arkansas Derby because he was so lightly raced.
Now, he’s established himself as a major contender for the Kentucky Derby.
Starting from the No. 2 position, Curlin moved quickly among the leaders. He was second behind Deadly Dealer in the first turn and dropped back briefly, but by the time he reached the second turn, he was right with Deadly Dealer.
Deadly Dealer dropped back and finished third as Curlin opened a huge lead in the stretch. Curlin covered the 11⁄ miles in 1:50.
Dominican, left, with Rafael Bejarano aboard, edges Street Sense by a nose in a thrilling Blue Grass Stakes. “I actually thought we had it won,” Street Sense trainer Carl Nafzger said.