Hero of Order probable for, Raconteur out of Blue Grass
Hero of Order, the 109-1 winner of the Grade II Louisiana Derby on April 1 at Fair Grounds, on Monday morning joined the probable cast for Saturday's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes.
"If he is feeling good, run him," trainer Gennadi Dorochenko said of Hero of Order, a colt by Sharp Humor who will be ridden by Eddie Martin Jr.
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Dorochenko is also expected to have Russian Greek in the race.
While Hero of Order was entering the Blue Grass picture, Raconteur was exiting. Trainer Todd Pletcher texted Keeneland racing secretary Ben Huffman that Raconteur might be routed to Saturday's Grade I Arkansas Derby, but definitely would not run in the Blue Grass.
Pletcher, who won the Blue Grass in 2005 with Bandini and 2008 with Monba, will still have a horse in this year's race — Heavy Breathing, third in the Vinery Racing Spiral in his most recent start on March 24. Heavy Breathing is scheduled to ship to Keeneland on Tuesday from Palm Meadows, where he worked a half-mile in :48.77 on Sunday. Pletcher texted Huffman that Corey Lanerie probably would have the mount.
In other Blue Grass developments, the race status of Adirondack King remained in question.
"I am going to talk today with the owners, but it may be the (Coolmore) Lexington (on April 21) for him," trainer John Servis said after the colt jogged Monday morning under Juan David.
Adirondack had worked 5 furlongs in :59.80 on Saturday in company with Ill Conceived, who was injured in the work.
"Ill Conceived will miss the Lexington," Servis said. "It looks like he jammed a high suspensory and since he is not going to the (Kentucky) Derby, I am not going to rush him."
■ Daddy Nose Best, winner of the $800,000 Sunland Derby (Grade III) at Sunland Park, continued his preparations for the the Kentucky Derby with a 5-furlong work over a fast track at Churchill Downs on Monday morning in 1:02.40 for trainer Steve Asmussen.
Working on his own under regular exercise rider Carlos Rosas, the Scat Daddy colt recorded fractions of :13.40, :25.80, :38, :50.20 and galloped out 6 furlongs in 1:15.60. The work ranked 14th out of 15 at the distance.
"I loved how he went," Asmussen said. "He went over the racetrack really well and he's in great physical shape. It was an ideal work and Carlos did a fabulous job. (Daddy Nose Best) has plenty of time and has plenty left in him. All we have to worry about is being good enough."
■ Another Kentucky Derby contender, Dullahan, was reported to be doing well the day after a bullet work at Keeneland. Dullahan traveled by van to the Lexington track Sunday morning and breezed 5 furlongs in :57.40 for trainer Dale Romans. He was back at Romans' barn at Churchill just a few hours later. A half brother to Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, Dullahan will have his final prep for the Derby in the Blue Grass Stakes.
"I was very pleased with the work," Romans said. "We wanted him to go fast and he went fast. We're ready to roll."
Musical Romance tops field for Keeneland's Vinery Madison
Musical Romance, the champion female sprinter of 2011, headlined a field of 10 fillies and mares entered Monday for Thursday's Grade I, $300,000 Vinery Madison at 7 furlongs on the main track at Keeneland. The Vinery Madison will go as the eighth race on Thursday's nine-race program with a 4:42 p.m. post time.
The race was won last year by Shotgun Gulch.
Regular rider Juan Leyva has the call on Musical Romance, who will be making her second start at Keeneland. Last fall, Musical Romance finished second to Holiday for Kitten in the Grade II Thoroughbred Club of America at 6 furlongs. Musical Romance, coming off a victory in the Grade II Inside Information at Gulfstream, will break from post position two.
Breaking from the rail next to Musical Romance will be the other Grade I winner in the field, Home Sweet Aspen. Trained by John Sadler, Home Sweet Aspen won the 7-furlong Santa Monica in January at Santa Anita. Joel Rosario has the mount.
The rest of the field from the rail out: Whipsaw City, Sugarinthemorning, La Reine Lionne, Whisked Away, She's Cheeky, Groupie Doll, Ariana D and Future Generation.
Goodell upholds Saints' penalties
Roger Goodell sent a message to every coach and player in the NFL: safety first. The league commissioner stuck with his punishments for New Orleans' pay-for-pain bounties on Monday, rejecting Saints Coach Sean Payton's appeal of a season-long suspension.
An NFL investigation found that, under Payton's watch, an assistant ran a program offering cash payouts for hits that knocked targeted opponents out of games or hurt them so badly they needed help getting to the sideline.
Suspensions for New Orleans players who participated in the bounty pool could be coming within days. Goodell set a precedent last season when he made Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh sit out for two games after stomping on an opponent, and Steelers linebacker James Harrison one game for a brutal tackle that gave Browns quarterback Colt McCoy a concussion.
The NFL has said as many as 27 players also could be sanctioned in the scandal. That might include former Saints defensive regulars who have signed elsewhere.
■ The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed defensive tackle Amobi Okoye to a one-year deal. Financial terms were not released.
Okoye, a former first-round draft pick out of Louisville who is entering his sixth season in the NFL, played last year with the Chicago Bears and his first four with the Houston Texans.
Sports in the courts
Judge in case against Sandusky puts limits on lawyers' comments to media
The judge overseeing the child sex abuse case against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky issued a gag order Monday that severely limits what attorneys on both sides may say to reporters. Judge John Cleland's order also applies to any law enforcement investigator who has worked on the case and anyone acting on behalf of the lawyers.
The off-limit topics include evidence; opinions about Sandusky's guilt or innocence or about the merits of legal and factual matters under discussion; and "the reputation, character, credibility or criminal record of the defendant or any witness, prospective witness or organization which is or may testify at trial, or be the subject of trial testimony or evidence." Cleland said he was acting to help ensure a "fair, impartial and orderly trial" for Sandusky, a proceeding scheduled to begin June 5 in Bellefonte, Pa.
Former Olympic diving champ Lenzi dies
Olympic diving champion Mark Lenzi died at 43 in Greenville, N.C. His hometown newspaper, The Free Lance-Star in Fredricksburg, Va., said Mr. Lenzi had been hospitalized for two weeks after suffering fainting spells. His mother, Ellie, told the newspaper her son's blood pressure was too low. Mr. Lenzi won the 3-meter springboard at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Four years later, he came out of a brief retirement and won the bronze medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
The last word
Masters champion Bubba Watson, who is now No. 4 in the world, on his future in golf:
"Major champion ... I mean, can't do any better than this. I've won four times and won a major. Who knows? That's the best part about history. We don't know what's going to happen. We don't know the future. We don't know anything. Hopefully, I keep crying. Hopefully, I keep having the passion to play golf and keep doing what I'm doing."