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Apr 03, 2015

Carpe Diem huge favorite for 91st Blue Grass Stakes


Lexington, KY ( - Eight 3-year-olds have been entered for Saturday's 91st running of the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, but according to the morning line odds only Carpe Diem is considered the lone horse able to win the race.

Carpe Diem, trained by Todd Pletcher, has been made the overwhelming even- money favorite for the 1 1/8-mile Blue Grass with 100 points going to the winner in the Kentucky Derby points system. None of the other 3-year-olds are listed at better than 6-1 in the program for the $1 million stakes.

Owned by Stonestreet Stable and WinStar Farm, Carpe Diem has drawn the desired 5 post with Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez once again slated to ride the chestnut colt.

"We're happy (with post 5)," said John Moynihan, bloodstock adviser for Stonestreet Stables. "He's a tactical horse and Johnny (Velazquez) knows him well and he can put him wherever he wants to put him. He can stalk; if there's not a lot of speed, he can go to the front."

Carpe Diem will be making just his second start of the year and first since a five-length win four weeks ago in the Tampa Bay Derby. The colt earned 50 points with victory for a possible place in this year's Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

Carpe Diem has already won at Keeneland, notching a 6 1/4-length triumph in the Breeders' Futurity last October. He went to the front in the 1 1/16-mile race and drew off to win convincingly. His only defeat in four starts came in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita when he finished second as the 9-5 favorite to Texas Red. The 3-year-old has banked $919,800.

The 6-1 co-second picks are Ocho Ocho Ocho and Classy Class. Ocho Ocho Ocho will leave from the inside post and Classy Class has drawn post 7.

"The rail is fine. I'd rather be inside than outside in any event. He broke a little slow last time, but he won't this time," said Ocho Ocho Ocho's trainer Jim Cassidy who will give a leg up to jockey Santiago Gonzalez.

Ocho Ocho Ocho, owned by DP Racing, won his first three starts as a 2-year-old highlighted by the Delta Downs Jackpot on Nov. 22. In his only start this year the colt finished a disappointing eighth behind Dortmund in the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita. He has earnings of $693,600.

Classy Class, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, will again be ridden by Junior Alvarado as the colt seeks his second career win.

"It's a pretty good run to the first turn and he usually breaks well. He's pretty straightforward to ride and I like the outside post. Seven of eight is fine. He's a very honest horse and he tries hard," McLaughlin noted.

Owned by Cheyenne Stables, Classy Class is coming off a third-place finish in the Gotham Stakes on March 7 at Aqueduct. He won first time out last October but was fourth the following month in Aqueduct's Remsen and in February was third in the Withers. The colt has earned $130,000.

Here is the field for the Blue Grass in post position order: Ocho Ocho Ocho, Santiago Gonzalez, 6-1; Gorgeous Bird, Brian Hernandez Jr., 8-1; Pepper Roani, Miguel Mena, 12-1; Unrivaled, Robby Albarado, 12-1; Carpe Diem, John Velazquez, even; Frammento, Gary Stevens, 8-1; Classy Class, Junior Alvarado, 6-1 and Danzig Moon, Julien Leparoux, 8-1. All starters will carry 123 pounds.

Post time for the Blue Grass is set for 6 p.m. ET. NBC Sports Network will provide live coverage of the Blue Grass from 5-7 p.m. ET as part of NBC Triple Crown Prep Day, which includes the Wood Memorial and Santa Anita Derby.

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