Art Collector pulls away to win Blue Grass at Keeneland

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Art Collector took a big step toward the Kentucky Derby, pulling away from the filly Swiss Skydiver in the stretch in the Blue Grass at Keeneland for his first graded stakes victory.

The Kentucky-bred son of Bernardini and Distorted Legacy by Distorted Humor started the $600,000, Grade 2 event from the No. 3 post and battled Shivaree and Swiss Skydiver to the far turn. Rushie joined the chase at the final turn, but before Art Collector and Swiss Skydiver separated themselves from the 13-horse field. The two ran side by side before Art Collector took control at the 1/8th pole in the 3+-length win.

“He’s a really good horse,” jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. said. “If you go back and watch all his replays, he’s just a very athletic horse. I think one of the most impressive races he ran was the day at Churchill he got shuffled around and almost fell down. I almost pulled him up, but he ran again. From that day on, we always believed he was a really good horse. It’s been a fun ride.”

Art Collector improved to 3-0 this year and has four wins and a second in eight starts. The colt earned 100 points toward the 146th Derby on Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs.

He covered 1 1/8 mile in 1:48.11 and paid $6.60, $4 and $3.20.

Swiss Skydiver, who’s dominating the Kentucky Oaks standings, returned $4.20 and $3.40 and earned 40 points in her first race against males. Rushie paid $4 while Enforceable earned 10 points for fourth.