LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDRB) -- Art Collector took a big step toward the Kentucky Derby, pulling away from filly Swiss Skydiver in the final stretch in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes on Saturday at Keeneland for his first graded-stakes victory.
Art Collector, 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 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 1/2-lengths win with jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. on board.
Trained by Thomas Drury Jr., Art Collector improved to 3-0 in 2020 and has four wins and a second in eight starts. The colt, owned by Bruce Lunsford, collected 100 points toward the 146th Derby on Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs.
Swiss Skydiver, who is the runaway leader in points for the Kentucky Oaks (G1), picked up 40 points in her first race against males. That total matches Toyota Blue Grass third-place finisher Rushie, who is not Triple Crown nominated. Enforceable picked up 10 points for finishing fourth to boost his total to 43, good for 12th place.
Fans were not allowed at Keeneland for the race, and Drury said the trip to Lexington and the winner's circle was a roller coaster with everyone fighting through uncertainty of the pandemic restrictions.
"I’m at a loss for words. It takes a village to get these things; there’s a lot of people who have done their part," Drury said. "I’m just honored to be able to share this with my staff and everyone that worked to get him here."
Swiss Driver's trainer, Kenny McPeek, said the filly ran a "super race," but the Kentucky Derby might not be in her future.
"It was a great race. Her fractions were pretty taxing, but she is fast. She is so special. We might lean against going to the Derby. We might go to the Alabama (G1) and consider waiting for the Kentucky Oaks (G1)," McPeek said.
Central Bank Ashland Stakes
The Central Bank Ashland (G1) set a new stakes and course record with a win by Speech with jockey Javier Castellano for the trip. The filly is trained by Michael McCarthy.
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