Todd's squad came through in the nick of time at Keeneland. Down to perhaps his last chance to return to the Kentucky Derby, trainer Todd Pletcher now has two contenders after Monba beat stablemate Cowboy Cal by a neck in the Blue Grass Stakes today.
"I was hoping for a dead heat at the end," said Pletcher, who last year saddled a record-tying five Derby starters.
The result gives the nation's top trainer a pair of 3-year-olds on the rise and with enough prize money for the Derby in three weeks. Cowboy Cal and Monba ran 1-2 around the far turn over the synthetic surface Polytrack. Urged on by Edgar Prado, Monba wore down Cowboy Cal in the stretch with 27-1 long shot Kentucky Bear 1 1/4 lengths farther back in third.