Sinister Minister thunders in Blue Grass upset
He was very comfortable and dominant throughout.
Owned by Lanni Family Trust, Mercedes Stable and Bernard Schiappa, Sinister Minister returned $19.40, $9.20 and $5.80 to his supporters as the nearly 9-1 fourth choice. While the winner was cruising toward the wire in deep stretch, Storm Treasure (Storm Boot) rallied boldly up the inside to catch Strong Contender and drew clear by 4 1/2 lengths for second. The 65-1 longshot gave back $47.80 and $16. Strong Contender, who raced in midpack early and offered a mild bid to take second on the far turn, paid $4.20 at 5-2 odds. It was another four lengths to 9-5 favorite Bluegrass Cat, who wound up nine lengths clear of the 5-2 First Samurai. Next came Seaside Retreat (King Cugat), Sadler's Trick (Favorite Trick), Little Cliff (Gulch) and Court Folly (Royal Academy). The healthy $2 exotics were worth $601.40 (exacta), $4,412.40 (trifecta) and $11,857.20 for the 7-3-4-2 superfecta.
Bred in Kentucky by Mr. and Mrs. L. Michael Owens, Sinister Minister was acquired privately by his current connections following his eight-length win over high-priced maiden claimers at Santa Anita in mid-January. He recorded an unplaced effort in the San Vicente S. (G2) next out and entered the Blue Grass off an adventurous runner-up finish in the California Derby, where he hit the rail in upper stretch with a clear lead and lost his stride momentarily before recovering. Gomez kept him on a straight path Saturday, and Sinister Minister improved his lifetime mark to 5-2-1-0, $503,880.
The winner is the first foal out of the stakes-winning Sweet Minister (The Prime Minister) and has an unraced two-year-old half-sister named Sweet Sweet Spirit (Cherokee Run) and an unnamed yearling half-brother by Pulpit.
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