Brilliant Speed finds best stride late, wins Blue Grass Stakes by a nose

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Brilliant Speed punched his ticket for the Kentucky Derby with a thrilling stretch run to win the $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes on Saturday at Keeneland.

The 3-year-old colt lagged behind the rest of the 12-horse field until the turn, then exploded over the final quarter-mile to edge Twinspired in a photo finish. The $450,000 winner's check gives Brilliant Speed more than enough graded-stakes earnings to earn a spot in next month's Run for the Roses. Ridden by Joel Rosario and trained by Tom Albertrani, Brilliant Speed covered the 1 1-8 miles on Keeneland's Polytrack in 1:50.92 and paid $40.20, $20.80 and $13.

Twinspired and jockey Robby Albarado paid $21.20 and $11.80 for second, while King Congie paid $8.80 for third. Santiva went off as the solid 2-1 favorite but never threatened.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)