LEXINGTON, Ky. — Favored Vekoma pulled away down the stretch to earn a 3 +-length victory in the $1 million Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday and take a big step toward the Kentucky Derby.
The chestnut colt followed up last month’s third-place finish in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes with his third win in four career starts. Vekoma started from the No. 2 post and was among the leaders throughout before gaining room from Somelikeithotbrown and Signalman nearing the final turn. Win Win Win charged down the stretch, but the George Weaver-trained horse was in control of the Grade 2 race by then and earned 100 points toward the Kentucky Derby on May 4 at Churchill Downs.
Ridden by Javier Castellano, Vekoma covered 1 1/8th mile in 1:50.93 and paid $4.80, $3.20 and $2.60.
Win Win Win returned $4 and $3.20 for second and earned 40 points, while Signalman paid $3.60 to show and earned 20 points. Somelikeithotbrown earned 10 points for fourth.
ARCADIA, Calif. — Jockey Rafael Bejarano rode his 4,000th career winner at Santa Anita.
He guided filly Portal Creek to a 3 }-length victory in the third race Saturday for trainer Bob Hess Jr.
The 36-year-old Peruvian jockey says Santa Anita has always been a special place for him. He won six races at the Southern California track in his first day riding there on April 8, 2006.
Bejarano came to the U.S. in 2002 after training at a national riding academy in Peru. He led the U.S. in victories with 455 in 2004.
He has career purse earnings of $200,611,833 and five victories in the Breeders’ Cup.
OCEANPORT, N.J. — Maximum Security will race this weekend for the first time since being disqualified in the Kentucky Derby.
The Jason Servis-trained colt was among six 3-year-olds entered Thursday for the $150,000 Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park on Sunday.
The 1 1/16-mile race in New Jersey will be the first in more than two months for Maximum Security. The colt galloped 1 1/8 miles here Wednesday.
In the Derby on May 2, Maximum Security got to the finish line 1}-lengths ahead of Country House. The victory was overturned 22 minutes later when the stewards disqualified the 9-2 second choice because of interference with eventual Preakness winner War of Will and other horses.
It marked the first time in the 145-year history of the Derby that the first-place finisher was disqualified for interference.