LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - This time, Street Sense came up a nose
In a wild four-horse dash, Dominican put his nose in front of
Street Sense in the final stride to win the $750,000 Blue Grass
Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday.
The first Blue Grass on Polytrack produced the most thrilling
finish of a Derby prep this year - the first four horses were
separated by a mere half-length.
With the victory, Dominican is on his way to the Kentucky Derby
in three weeks. Street Sense will there, too, but probably not as
Street Sense came into the 1 1-8-mile Blue Grass off a nose
victory over Any Given Saturday in the Tampa Bay Derby last month.
"Last time we got the photo, this time they got the photo,"
Street Sense trainer Carl Nafzger said. "I actually thought we had
Teuflesberg, who led from the start, was still ahead at the top
of the stretch. But Zanjero found running room on the inside,
Dominican was on the outside and Great Hunter and Street Sense were
in the middle of the track.
Just as Street Sense went ahead, he quickly ducked in and
Dominican surged ahead as they crossed the wire. At one point, it
appeared Teuflesberg impeded Great Hunter in the stretch, but no
foul was claimed.
When the race became official, the celebration began in the
"It is just overwhelming, we just beat the 2-year-old
champion," winning trainer Darrin Miller said. "He has never
Nafzger, meanwhile, said his 2-year-old champion made too many
"He got the lead, he ducked in ... if he doesn't make those
mistakes he wins," Nafzger said. "I don't know why he did that."
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
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Dominican won for the third time in
seven starts. The gelding, sent off at 8-1, won the Rushaway Stakes
over Polytrack at Turfway Park, and is now 3-for-3 over the
"I knew No. 4 (Street Sense) was going to be tough," Bejarano
said. "So I tried to stay right behind him and wait. When I saw
him moving at the quarter pole, I moved to the outside. My horse
just gave me everything he had to win."
Dominican covered the 1 1-8 miles in 1:51.33, and paid $18 for a
$2 win ticket.
A son of El Corredor, Dominican needed to win or finish second
to get into the Derby if more than 20 horses are entered. If that
happens, graded-stakes earnings determine who gets in.
With the win, Dominican earned $465,000 for owner Silverton Hill
LLC. He came into the race ranked 24th in earnings at $33,484.
"The feeling is surreal," Dominican co-owner Bonnie Hamilton.
The race was billed as showdown between 2-year-old champion
Street Sense and Great Hunter, who defeated Street Sense in the
Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland last October. But Miller wanted to
see if his horse was Derby worthy.
"We needed to test him," Miller said. "We wanted to go to the
Derby and we needed to see if we could hook them."
He did, and now it's off to Churchill Downs.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)