Yarradale Stud shuttler War Chant will be gunning for a Group winning double at Keeneland this Saturday.
His three year-old colt Midnight Crooner will stay on track for the Kentucky Derby with a forward finish in the G1 Blue Grass Stakes (1800m). And old warrior Chamberlain Bridge will attempt to win the G3 Shakertown Stakes (1100m) at his fourth start in the feature sprint at Keeneland’s spring meet.
Midnight Crooner (3c War Chant – Midnight Kiss (NZ) by Groom Dancer) won his maiden by seven lengths at Golden Gate Fields before finishing third in the LR Pasadena Stakes at Santa Anita in March.
Trainer Bob Baffert won the 2011 Santa Anita Derby with his older brother Midnight Interlude but he didn’t inspire under the Twin Spires finishing midfield behind Animal Kingdom.
The brothers are homebreds for East Coast owners Arnold and Ellen Zetcher. Their NZ bred dam Midnight Kiss won races at Arawa Park and Tauranga and she also finished third in the 2004 NZ Oaks before shipping to the United States.
Midnight Crooner arrived in Kentucky from Baffert’s Californian stables earlier this week and jogged once around the main track under assistant trainer Peter Hutton on Wednesday.
Champion colt Hansen drew barrier 4 and was installed a 6-5 favourite for the $750,000 event sponsored by Toyota. The last horse to complete the Blue Grass – Kentucky Derby double was Strike the Gold in 1991.
Chamberlain Bridge has accomplished a lot in a remarkable career including a G2 win in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. He’s won 18 times in 40 starts for more than $1.70 million and is still one of the best turf sprinters around.
About the only thing left for the War Chant gelding to accomplish is win the $100,000 Shakertown Stakes. He has finished fourth in the last two editions of the race and was third home in 2009.
Chamberlain Bridge (8g War Chant – She’s Got Class by Trempolino) is owned by Carl Moore Management and is trained by Bret Calhoun. He has already won over the Keeneland turf course when capturing the 2008 Woodford Stakes.
His latest campaign started with a fast-closing second in the Colonel Power Stakes at Fair Grounds. Regular rider Jamie Theriot will have the mount once again breaking from barrier 9.
War Chant (Danzig) shuttles from Three Chimneys Farm to Yarradale Stud in WA where he covered over 100 mares in his first southern book last year.