Java's War (Julien Leparoux): closes from rear to take Blue GrassPICTURE: EquiSport Photos/Matt Wooley
Java's War gets up on line in Blue Grass
Report: USA, Saturday
Keeneland: Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (Grade 1) 1m1f, AW, 3yo
A COMPLIMENT was paid to Kentucky Derby favourite Verrazano when Java's War (Kenny McPeek/Julien Leparoux), who he had brushed aside at Tampa Bay, snatched a last-to-first victory in the final strides of the Blue Grass Stakes.
After a tardy break, Java's War was still a couple of lengths adrift of the remainder of the field as they entered the far turn before he circled the field and nailed Palace Malice on the wire for a neck victory.
Palace Malice's trainer Todd Pletcher, who won the Arkansas Derby on Saturday with Overanalyze, also saddled third-placed Charming Kitten. The favourite Rydiluc was fourth after making the running.
Java's War, a son of War Pass, was three lengths behind Pletcher-trained Verrazano in the Tampa Bay Derby. Now the pair will meet again as Java's War switches back to the dirt at Churchill Downs on May 4.
The Blue Grass winner, completing a Grade 1 double for jockey Julien Leparoux after Centre Court's victory in the previous contest, was sent off just better than a 9-2 shot for the $750,000 event.
"We didn't know coming into his three-year-old year whether he was a turf horse or a Polytrack horse, but obviously he's running over about anything we put him on," said winning trainer Kenny McPeek.
"That race at Tampa gave us the idea that, okay, we really do fit. Today's race was huge."
Also on Saturday
Centre Court (Julien Leparoux): cuts down Daisy Devine at KeenelandPICTURE: EquiSport Photos/Wendy Wooley
Keeneland: Jenny Wiley Stakes (Grade 1) 1m½f, turf, 4yo+ f/m
The 17-10 favourite Centre Court (Rusty Arnold/Julien Leparoux) looks a turf filly right out of the top drawer after landing her first Grade 1 success in fine style, running down the 2012 winner Daisy Devine inside the final furlong to win going away by a couple of lengths. Last year's Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Samitar stayed on for third.
Keeneland: Madison Stakes (Grade 1) 7f, AW, 4yo+ f/m
Longshot Last Full Measure (Phil Oliver/Corey Nakatani) got home by a neck from Byrama in a finish dominated by the stretch runners as the pace fell apart