Litigate gave BLAME an exciting Kentucky Derby (G1) prospect on Saturday when the Centennial Farms representative won the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) in his third start.
Racing over 1 1/16 miles on the dirt in his first start at a route distance, Litigate was among the early leaders out of the gate. The colt was cued to drop back to a few lengths behind when three other horses pressured the leader up front, watching that duel unfold. It wasn’t until the turn that he started to unfurl his stride and it took less than a furlong for him to end up just where he’d started battling the leader.
In the early stretch, he had to deal with a battle before easily pulling away in the final furlong to win by 1 ¼ lengths. The victory earned him his first 20 points on this year’s Road to the Kentucky Derby trail.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, the $370,000 Keeneland September Yearling purchase has won two of his three starts with a second last out to round out his results.
“He just really improved mentally since his last race and he put it all together today,” Centennial President Don Little, Jr. told Thoroughbred Daily News. “[Jockey] Luis [Saez] gave him a really tactical ride. He broke him early, got in there and saved some ground in the first turn and then moved him to the outside and let him rock. He came running at the end. It’s exciting to be on the Derby trail.”
Litigate was bred by Nursery Place, Donaldson, and Broadbent out of a Mineshaft half-sister to two stakes performers. Among that mare’s stakes placed siblings is the dam of BLAME’s Grade 3 winner and multiple Grade 2 placed Blamed while another sibling is the Grade 3 winning Pacific Ocean.
This is also the family of Grade 1 winner Frost Giant and Grade 2 winner Kavanagh among others.
BLAME is also the sire of a Kentucky Oaks (G1) contender after Wet Paint romped in last month’s Martha Washington Stakes.