Bluegrass Singer eyes Derby points

Mucho Macho Man S. winner Bluegrass Singer is expected to make his next start in Saturday's $400,000 Holy Bull S. at Gulfstream Park, trainer Marcus Vitali said Thursday morning.

The three-year-old gelding is cross-entered in the 1-1/16-mile Holy Bull as well as the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes at seven furlongs, two of the five sophomore stakes on Saturday's 11-race card.

Bluegrass Singer drew far outside post 8 in the Hutcheson and post 4 of 10 in the Holy Bull, where he will have the services of Championship Meet leading rider Javier Castellano.

"I'm leaning toward the Holy Bull," Vitali said. "I'm trying to get some [Kentucky Derby qualifying] points together, and that's kind of my decision. Javier's got the assignment, and those two got along really good last time. I just think we've got to take our chances, hope for the best and shoot for the sky."


Castellano was aboard for Bluegrass Singer's last race, a 1-3/4-length victory in the Mucho Macho Man S., formerly the Gulfstream Park Derby, on January 3. It was the second straight win at a mile for the gray gelding following a 4-3/4-length romp in an optional claimer on December 17.

The Holy Bull will be Bluegrass Singer's first try beyond a mile, but he was second around two turns in a one-mile turf allowance in October at Gulfstream Park West. Overall he has three wins and a third in four tries over Gulfstream's main track.

"He handled two turns on the turf," Vitali said. "If he can handle it on the turf, he can handle it on the dirt. I don't see any reason that he wouldn't handle the two turns at Gulfstream. I don't have a lot of concern about it."

With only 21 days since the Mucho Macho Man, Bluegrass Singer had a three-furlong bullet work in :36 seconds on January 18 at Gulfstream Park West, the fastest of eight horses.

"I brought him back into the race easy off the last race, being just three weeks between races. I figured he's run so many times and he's the kind of horse that keeps himself fit anyway," Vitali said. "It can be kind of a tricky situation when you're pointing for two races. You've got to train them a little different for either race. I just did my best and the horse responded to everything perfect. He's coming into the race excellent."

Vitali won the first graded stakes of his career last winter with Lochte in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap. His other graded win came with Valid (Medaglia d'Oro) in the Monmouth Cup last summer on dirt.

"It's very exciting, but I don't take anything for granted," Vitali remarked. "We work hard and have a good staff. Everybody's working good, and we've got a good horse. It's just a matter of staying focused, don't get too high on it, remember where you came from, and things usually work out good for you."