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McPeek Pointing Trio Toward Toyota Blue Grass

Toyota Blue Grass
Tapit Trice stamped his ticket to Louisville by winning the Blue Grass at Keeneland. (Photo © James Kirkikis/Dreamtime).

Dixiana Farms’ homebred Hayes Strike along with Mendelssohns March, owned by Harold Lerner, Nehoc Stables, AWC Stables and Team Stallion Racing Stable, tuned up for expected starts in Saturday’s $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G1) by working 5 furlongs in 1:00.60 in company together over a fast main track Sunday morning.

Hayes Strike comes into the 1 1/8-mile Toyota Blue Grass off a victory in the Private Terms Stakes at Laurel on March 18.

“I don’t run many horses in Maryland,” trainer Kenny McPeek said of Hayes Strike, who has two graded stakes placings. “His race at Turfway (in the Leonatus Stakes on Jan. 21 in which he finished ninth) … nothing went right. He didn’t ship well, and he didn’t handle the synthetic surface at all. I just needed to get him back on the dirt and get him back to winning.”

Hayes Strike is a half-brother to Senior Investment, who won the 2017 Stonestreet Lexington (G3) here for McPeek.

Hayes Strike Wins Private Terms

“Senior Investment needed a mile and an eighth, and his brother is the same,” said McPeek, who also plans to run R.T. Racing Stable and Cypress Creek Equine’s Sun Thunder in the Toyota Blue Grass. Sun Thunder finished fifth in the Twinspires.comLouisiana Derby (G2) on March 25 in his most recent start.

Mendelssohns March has two wins in two starts with victories on the turf at Fair Grounds and on a sloppy dirt track at Oaklawn Park.

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McPeek is the most recent of six trainers to have swept the Central Bank Ashland (G1) and Toyota Blue Grass in the same year. McPeek, who accomplished the double in 2002 with Take Charge Lady and Harlan’s Holiday, is expected to send out Magdalena Racing, Colette Marie Vanmatre and James Ball’s Defining Purpose in Friday’s Central Bank Ashland. Defining Purpose worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.20 this morning.

Prospective Fields for Friday & Saturday

A total of eight stakes worth a combined $4.05 million will be run Friday and Saturday during the first two days of Keeneland’s Spring Meet. Here are the prospective entrants in those races compiled by Stakes Coordinator Baley Hare.

April 7 races. Entries taken Tuesday.


Defining Purpose (trainer Kenny McPeek), Guns n’ Graces(Chad Brown), Julia Shining (Todd Pletcher), Pride of the Nile (Doug O’Neill), Punchbowl (Brad Cox), Wonder Wheel (Mark Casse). Possible: Effortlesslyelgant (Norm Casse)


Andthewinneris (Wayne Catalano), Dude N Colorado (GB) (Pletcher), Freedom Trail (John Terranova II), Mi Hermano Ramon (Mark Glatt), Mo Stash (Vicki Oliver), Webslinger (Mark Casse) and Wonderful Justice (GB) (Brad Cox). Possible: Candidate (Arnaud Delacour),Nagirroc (Graham Motion).

$400,000 LAFAYETTE

Corona Bolt (Cox), Determinedly (Mark Casse), Hurricane J (Paulo Lobo), LuganKnight (Michael McCarthy). Possible: Damon’s Mound (Michelle Lovell), Invulnerable (Joe Sharp).

April 8 races. Entries taken Wednesday.


Blazing Sevens (Chad Brown), Classic Car Wash (Mark Casse), Hayes Strike (McPeek), Major Blue (D. Wayne Lukas), Mendelssohns March (McPeek), Raise Cain (Ben Colebrook), Sun Thunder (McPeek), Tapit Trice (Pletcher), Verifying (Cox). Possible: Scoobie Quando (Colebrook).

$600,000 MADISON (G1)

Maryquitecontrary (Shug McGaughey), Yuugiri (Rodolphe Brisset). Possible:Caramel Swirl (Bill Mott), Goodnight Olive (Brown).


Alluring Angel (GB) (Jorge Abreu), Alpha Bella (Pletcher), Be Your Best (IRE) (Horacio De Paz), Beautifulnavigator (IRE) (McPeek), Cairo Consort (Pletcher), Heavenly Sunday (Cox), Papilio (IRE) (Mark Casse), Pleasant Passage (McGaughey), Sabalenka (Whit Beckman), Well Into (Jonathan Thomas). Possible: Peacock Lass (Brisset).

$350,000 SHAKERTOWN (G2)

Caravel (Cox), Johnny Unleashed (Eric Foster), Mister Mmmmm (Catalano), Our Shot (Terranova). Possible: Oceanic (Jordan Blair), Stitched (Greg Foley).

$300,000 COMMONWEALTH (G3)

Heart Rhythm (John Ortiz), Hoist the Gold (Dallas Stewart), LongRange Toddy (Stewart), Nakatomi (Wesley Ward), Run Classic (Bret Calhoun). Possible: Eastern Bay (Lynn Cash), Sir Alfred James (Cash).