LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Down the stretch of Keeneland’s Blue Grass Stakes, the colt, Art Collector swooped past the classy filly Swiss Skydiver and went on to capture the track’s premier race for three-year-olds. Saturday’s Blue Grass marked his first stakes race on dirt as Art Collector emerged as a possible major player for the First Saturday in September and the Kentucky Derby.
" He was going in the right direction and doing the right things but until you face this kind of competition you really don’t know but I think he answered a lot of questions today,” said winning trainer, Tom Drury, who captured the first graded stakes race of his career.
Art Collector had been brought along slowly this year so a delayed Run for the Roses could prove to be beneficial for this son of Bernardini.
After taking a pair of allowance races this spring at Churchill, Art Collector seemed ready for a new challenge so his camp entered him in the mile and an eighth Blue Grass to see what they have. What they got was an impressive three- length win over a game filly, Swiss Skydiver, who was attempting to become the first filly to take the Blue Grass.
Saturday’s triumph was a win for the home team. Art Collector’s owner-breeder, Bruce Lunsford, his trainer Drury and rider Brian Hernandez are all Louisville-based. After grabbing 100 points on the Kentucky Derby points board, Art Collector is virtually guaranteed a spot in the starting gate for this year’s second jewel of the Triple Crown.
Owner Lunsford said after the race that his runner might start one more time before Derby Day.