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McCraken is 7-5 early favorite for Blue Grass Stakes

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — McCraken is the 7-5 morning line favorite for the $1 million Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland that awards 170 points toward the Kentucky Derby.

The unbeaten Kentucky-bred colt trained by Ian Wilkes drew the No. 2 post position on Tuesday for Saturday’s 1 1/8-mile Grade 2 race featuring seven 3-year-olds. McCraken is 4-0 and won the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 11.

Tapwrit is the 5-2 second choice and drew the No. 4 position. The Todd Pletcher-trained horse is sixth with 54 Derby points and was second to McCraken in the Davis.

Practical Joke is the 7-2 third choice and starts from the No. 7 position. Trained by Chad Brown, he has three wins with a third in last fall’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Saratoga, without Justify, ready to go for 150th meet

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Triple Crown winner Justify won’t be running during the 150th meet at Saratoga Race Course, but many of the best thoroughbreds will be at the historic track for the 40-day season.

The meet features 69 stakes races worth $18.8 million in purses and opens Friday. Among those running this season will be Good Magic, Hofburg, Gronkowski, Vino Rosso, and Bravazo.

Todd Pletcher is eyeing his 13th training title in 16 years. He won last year with 40 winners, one more than Chad Brown.

Justify has returned to Del Mar in California after swelling in his left front ankle emerged two weeks ago. Trainer Bob Baffert says Justify probably will walk around the stable area the next two weeks.

The colt likely will return in the fall, the ultimate goal being the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs in November.

Triple Crown winner Justify under observation at Del Mar

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DEL MAR, Calif. (AP) Triple Crown winner Justify has re-located to Del Mar where trainer Bob Baffert is keeping him under observation after swelling in his left front ankle emerged two weeks ago.

Baffert says Justify will probably just walk around the stable area for the next two weeks at the track north of San Diego. The probable scenario for the colt is a return to racing sometime in the fall with the ultimate goal being the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs in November.

“Right now, we’re just looking to get him 100 percent,” Baffert said Monday. “We’re in a holding pattern. I’d love to run him again because he’s so much fun and exciting to watch. We should know more in a couple of weeks.”

Justify has won all six starts in his brief career that began this year. He has won four straight Grade 1 races, including a sweep of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont to become horse racing’s 13th Triple Crown champion.

The colt hasn’t had a workout since the Belmont Stakes on June 9.