LEXINGTON, Ky., April 15 -- Longshot Wild Syn led from wire-to- wire Saturday to capture the 71st running of the $500,000 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. The Blue Grass was one of the last two prep races for 3-year-olds for next month's Kentucky Derby.
The $500,000 Wood Memorial, featuring heavy favorite Talkin Man, was being run later Saturday at Aqueduct in New York. Wild Syn, a 30-to-1 underdog, earned his third win of the year and the first stakes' triumph of his career. He covered the 1 1/8-mile distance in a time of 1:49 1/5 with jockey Randy Romero aboard to push his career earnings to $334,974. Wild Syn paid $62.40, $19.80 and $6 in becoming the third horse in four years to lead wire-to-wire. The other two, Holy Bull (1994) and Pistols and Roses (1992) finished out of the money at the Kentucky Derby. Favorite Thunder Gulch, who was third most of the race, tired and finished fourth after winning both of his starts this year, including a narrow victory at the Florida Derby in March. Thunder Gulch, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, was ridden by Pat Day after regular jockey Mike Smith gave up the mount to ride at the Oaklawn Handicap in Arkansas. Suave Prospect was second and paid $4.20 and $3.40 and Tejano Run, who rallied for third, returned $3.40. Suave Prospect, trained by Nick Zito and ridden by Julie Krone, remained winless since the Preview Stakes at Gulfstream on January 21. Krone picked up the mount in place of Jerry Bailey, who also gave up the assignment to ride at Oaklawn. Three of the last five Derby winners -- Unbridled (1990), Strike the Gold (1991) and Sea Hero (1993) -- have participated in the Blue Grass.