Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin will likely target the inaugural $1 million Jockey Club Derby Invitational at Belmont Park with A Thread of Blue, who won the Saratoga Derby Invitational in wire-to-wire fashion under jockey Luis Saez on Sunday.
Leonard Green's dark bay son of Hard Spun scored his third stakes victory in the Saratoga Derby, which came after wins in the Dania Beach and Grade 3 Palm Beach at Gulfstream Park.
“He came out of the race really well, we'll look at [the Jockey Club Derby], September 7,” McLaughlin said. “We weren't sure if he'd get a mile-and-three-sixteenths and we aren't sure he'll get a mile-and-a-half, but we've got a million reasons to try. If it's firm, that will help. If it's really soft, we might reconsider.”
Bred in Kentucky by Flaxman Holdings, A Thread of Blue is out of the Seeking the Gold broodmare Enthused and was purchased for $430,000 at the Ocala Breeders Sales Company's Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training last March.
McLaughlin said Godolphin's Endorsed is still under consideration for the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers on August 24. The bay son of Medaglia d'Oro out of Grade 1 winner Dance Card was recently second in the Curlin to Highest Honors and returned to the work tab on Tuesday morning with a half-mile breeze in 49.03 seconds.
“He worked well and we're looking at the Travers,” McLaughlin said. “We're not 100 percent sure yet.”
McLaughlin's lone victory in the “Mid-Summer Derby” took place when Alpha, who also was owned by Godolphin, dead heated with Golden Ticket in 2012.
The veteran conditioner also said Shadwell Farm's three-time Grade 1-placed Qurbaan will point towards a repeat win in the Grade 2, $250,000 Bernard Baruch on September 2, but Fasig-Tipton Lure winner Lucullan, owned by Godolphin, will wait on something else.
“We'll do something else because he ran back a month off of a year and a half layoff,” McLaughlin said.
Lucullan, a 5-year-old Hard Spun bay, won the Lure off of an allowance win at Belmont Park, which was his first start in 14 months. He is out of the graded-stakes winning broodmare Golden Velvet, who also produced graded stakes winner Innovative Idea.
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