• Rick Capone, Sports Editor

Brody’s Cause wins Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland

BRODY’S CAUSE, with jockey Luis Saez riding, rallied down the stretch to win the 92nd running of the $1 million Blue Grass Stakes (G1) on Saturday, April 9, at Keeneland. (Photo by Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos)

On a sunny but at times cold Saturday, April 9, Brody’s Cause, with jockey Luis Saez riding the horse for the first time, rallied from 11th place to win the 92nd running of the $1 million Blue Grass Stakes (G1) by 1-3/4 lengths over My Man Sam at Keeneland in front of 20,848 fans. Finishing third in the 14-horse field was Cherry Wine. Brody’s Cause, a 3-year old by Giant’s Causeway-Sweet Breanna, by Sahm, ran the 1-1/8th-mile race on a dirt track rated fast in 1:50.20. With the win, the bay colt punched his ticket into the $2 million Kentucky Derby (G1), which will be run at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May. 7. “We’re going into the Kentucky Derby in perfect form,” said winning trainer Dale Romans.” He’s already won on the track, which you know is important at Churchill Downs, and the farther (the race) the better.” Brody’s Cause won a maiden special weight at Churchill on Sept. 22, 2015. He came into the Blue Grass Stakes off of a seventh-place finish in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) on March 12. His last win was last year in the Breeders’ Cup Futurity (G1) at Keeneland on Oct. 3. According to a Keeneland press release, with his win in the Blue Grass Stakes, Brody’s Cause also became the fourth horse to complete a Breeders’ Cup Futurity-Blue Grass Stakes double. The other three horses were Round Table (1956-1957), Dullahan (2011-2012) and Carpe Diem (2014-2015). Romans also trained Dullahan. In Saturday’s Blue Grass Stakes, Brody’s Cause broke from gate six and settled near the back of the pack in 11th place, while up front Laoban set the pace, with Twizz second, Lookin for a Kiss third and race favorite, Zulu, in fifth. My Man Sam was also at the back of the field after the break, settling into 14th place. Things stayed the same through the first turn and down the backstretch, but in the far turn Brody’s Cause began to move forward, moved out six-wide off the rail entering the stretch and began to make a bid for the lead. My Man Sam also began to move forward coming around the final turn and came out the farthest wide off the rail of all the horses – eight-wide – and moved into the stretch trying to get to the leaders. In the front, Laoban was holding his lead, but Twizz and Lookin for a Kiss began to fade. Meanwhile, Brody’s Cause was coming on fast, caught up to Laoban in midstretch and took the lead. My Man Sam wasn’t far behind, while Cherry Win, another horse that started back in the field, rallying down the lane as well. In the end, it was Brody’s Cause who hit the wire in first, 1-3/4 lengths ahead of My Man Sam in second, Cherry Win in third and Laoban in fourth. “He broke sharp,” said Saez. “He was in a good spot. On the first turn, he got in a little trouble; I had to check a little. But that was good because he came out (at the five-eighths pole), and we were in the clear. He was rolling. He was asking me to let him go and I let him go. When we came to the stretch I knew he would be there.” Lookin for a Kiss faded to seventh, while Twizz finished last. Zulu never challenged and finished 12th. Owned by Albaugh Family Stable, Brody’s Cause now has three wins, one third and $1,123,138 in earnings in six career starts. The winners of the other stakes races that were held on Saturday are: • Ashland Stakes (G1): Weep No More (jockey Corie Lanerie, trainer George Arnold, owner Ashbrook Farm). • Commonwealth Stakes: Ami’s Flatter (jockey Martin Garcia, trainer Josie Carroll, owner Ivan Dalos). • Shakertown Stakes (G2): Undrafted (jockey Joe Bravo, trainer Wesley Ward, owners Wes Welker and Sol Kumin). • Madison Stakes (G1): Sheer Drama (jockey Joe Bravo, trainer David Fawkes, owner Harold Queen).

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