April 12, 2024

Constellation invades for Madison, A.P. Indian returns in Commonwealth

Constellation winning the Grade 1 La Brea December 26, 2016 at Santa Anita © BENOIT PHOTO

Saturday’s dynamite 11-race program at Keeneland is highlighted by the Blue Grass (G2) and Ashland (G1) for Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks contenders, and there is plenty of star power among a trio of undercard stakes races.

The $300,000 Madison (G1) for filly and mare sprinters has attracted nine runners including Constellation, who invades from Southern California for the 7-furlong test. Winner of the La Brea (G1) two back, the Bellamy Road filly will look to rebound from a third as the odds-on favorite in the March 5 Las Flores (G3) and David Flores has the call for Jerry Hollendorfer.

Her main rivals include multiple Grade 2 winner Paulassilverlining, who finished third in the Breeders’ Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) two back and exits a convincing win in the December 10 Garland of Roses; multiple Grade 2-placed Clothes Fall Off, a 4 ¼-length winner of the March 18 Correction at Aqueduct for Kiaran McLaughlin; and last-out Barbara Fritchie (G2) scorer High Ridge Road.

Here is the Madison field:

Multiple Grade 1 winner A.P. Indian, the leading sprinter on the East Coast last year, returns in the $250,000 Commonwealth (G3). It marks his first outing since finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) and the 7-year-old gelding should appreciate the 7-furlong distance, recording a 4-for-4 mark. The Arnaud Delacour runner registered a 104 BRIS Speed rating capturing the Phoenix (G2) at Keeneland last October and regular rider Joe Bravo will be up.

Ami’s Flatter is making a title defense in the Commonwealth and tuned up with a respectable second to Stanford in the March 11 Challenger at Tampa Bay Downs. Grade 1 runner-up Limousine Liberal established a new track record when opening 2016 with an allowance tally at Keeneland and finished one spot behind A.P. Indian in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint last out. Grade 3 victor Awesome Slew also merits respect following a runner-up in the Gulfstream Park H. (G2).

Here is the Commonwealth line-up:

Mongolian Saturday is among nine turf sprinters for the $200,000 Shakertown (G2) at 5 ½ furlongs. The 7-year-old gelding likes the course, recording a 2-for-2 record locally with wins in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) and Woodford (G3) last fall, but Mongolian Saturday will need to turn things around after failing to offer a serious challenge in his last three starts.

Hogy just missed when second to Mongolian Saturday in the Woodford six months ago and returns to Keeneland in good form, posting a one-length win in the February 25 Colonel Power at Fair Grounds. Rainbow Heir enters off an encouraging performance, posting a nose second in the Gulfstream Turf Sprint on January 28, and multiple stakes hero Green Mask appears capable of making an impact in the latter stages.

Here is the Shakertown field: