A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

After Toyota Blue Grass Stakes victory, Hernandez focuses on Kentucky Derby aboard Art Collector

Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. has won America’s richest horse race. Now the Ellis Park regular has his sights on America’s most revered race, the Kentucky Derby. That long-held dream took an important step forward when Hernandez guided Bruce Lunsford’s Art Collector to a 3 1/2-length victory over the talented filly Swiss Skydiver in Keeneland’s $600,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes on July 11. The...

Keeneland concludes historic five-day summer meet with total handle of $63 million

Keeneland successfully closed its unprecedented five-day Summer Meet on Sunday with all-sources wagering of more than $63 million. Driving robust wagering were top-quality race fields and the enthusiastic support of fans who were watching and wagering remotely due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. All-sources wagering on the Summer Meet, held July 8-12, totaled $63,299,331. Average daily all-sources...

Swiss Skydiver takes on the boys in field of 13 in Saturday’s $600,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes

Peter Callahan’s Swiss Skydiver will try to put herself on the Kentucky Derby (G1) trail Saturday when she takes on males in a field of 13 horses entered for the 96th running of the $600,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G2) for 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles on Keeneland’s main track. A major steppingstone for the $3 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve to be run Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs,...

Vekoma punches KY Derby ticket with Blue Grass win, Out for a spin pulls off shocker in the Ashland

By Mark Hansel KyForward managing editor Never before had Keeneland seen such a large crowd on the opening Saturday of a meet. Vekoma draws off from the field to an impressive 3 1/2 length win in the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland Saturday, stamping his ticket to the Kentucky Derby (photos by Mark Hansel). The combination of perfect weather, spots in the starting gate of the Kentucky...

Champion Good Magic is 2-1 morning-line favorite for Saturday’s $1 million Toyota Blue Grass Stakes

E Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables’ champion Good Magic, purchased for $1 million at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, was installed as the 2-1 morning-line favorite for Saturday’s 94th running of the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2). A total of 15 3-year-olds, including one also-eligible, was entered Tuesday for the 1 1/8-mile main track test that serves as a...

Caledonia Road, Rushing Fall headline nominations for Keeneland’s opening weekend April 6-8

Two 2017 Breeders’ Cup winners – champion Caledonia Road, who won the 14 Hands Winery Juvenile Fillies (G1), and the undefeated Rushing Fall, winner of the Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) – headline the list of horses nominated to six graded stakes that are part of eight stakes to be run during the April 6-8 opening weekend of Keeneland’s 2018 Spring Meet. The 16-day season, from April 6-27, offers...

Keeneland announces 2018 Spring Meet stakes schedule featuring 16 races worth record $4.4 million

Keeneland Spring Meet 2017 Keeneland has announced its 2018 Spring Meet will offer 16 stakes worth a season record $4.4 million in purse money. Headlining the meet, to be held April 6-27, are the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G2) and $500,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1), both nationally prominent classic preps, and enhanced status for the $200,000 Appalachian (G2) Presented by Japan Racing Association. Fifteen...

Long-shot Irap holds off Practical Joke before 32,610 fans, becomes first maiden to win Toyota Blue Grass

Reddam Racing’s Irap became the first maiden to win the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G2) for 3-year-olds on Saturday, holding off Practical Joke by three-quarters of a length before a crowd of 32,610. Trained by Doug O’Neill and ridden by Julien Leparoux, Irap covered the 1 1/8 miles on a fast main track in 1:50.39 in the 93rd running of the race. It was the second victory in the race for Leparoux,...

Barn Notes: Wild Shot will try his luck against McCraken, Tapwrit and Saturday’s Toyota Blue Grass

The past performance lines for Calumet Farm’s Wild Shot prominently display the names of Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2) rivals McCraken and Tapwrit. On Saturday, the Rusty Arnold trainee will try again against the two race favorites on the morning line. “I thought we would make our stand here where he ran his best race,” Arnold said of Wild Shot, who finished third to champion Classic Empire in...

Barn Notes: Undefeated McCraken, Practical Joke likely favorites for Toyota Blue Grass Stakes

Whitham Thoroughbreds’ homebred McCraken, undefeated in four starts, and Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence’s two-time Grade 1 winner Practical Joke headline a list of seven horses considered as likely starters for the 93rd running of the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G2) on April 8, opening Saturday of Keeneland’s 2017 Spring Meet. Entries will be taken Tuesday for the 1 1/8-mile dirt...

Keeneland schedules 16 stakes races worth $4.325 million for 2017 Spring Meet

Keeneland announced a $4.325 million stakes schedule for its 2017 Spring Meet that offers 16 stakes, featuring the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G2) and $500,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1), and introduces Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet as the signature sponsor of the $200,000 Lexington (G3). Purse money for the Lexington and opening day Transylvania (G3) Presented by Keeneland Select have been increased...

Pletcher-trained Heavenly View runs down Believe in Bertie to capture Diamond A Purse at Keeneland

Siena Farm’s homebred Heavenly View collared longtime leader Believe in Bertie in deep stretch to win Sunday’s $59,060 Diamond A Purse for 3-year-old fillies by a head before a crowd of 11,323. Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by John Velazquez, Heavenly View covered the 1 1/16 miles on a firm turf course in 1:44.15. Heavenly View is a Kentucky-bred daughter of Congrats out of the Tabasco Cat...

Brody’s Cause surges to Toyota Blue Grass win, punches ticket into Kentucky Derby field

The Albaugh Family Stable’s Brody’s Cause surged to the front at midstretch and cruised to a 1¾-length victory over My Man Sam to win the 92nd running of the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G1) before a crowd of 20,848 on a sunny but cool Saturday afternoon at Keeneland. Trained by Dale Romans and ridden by Luis Saez, Brody’s Cause covered the 1 1/8 miles on a fast main track in 1:50.20. The victory...

Keeneland moves up Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, increases purse to $1 million

The Toyota Blue Grass Stakes will be held one week earlier in 2015 and the purse has increased to $1 million (Keeneland Photo)   Keeneland announced a richer, re-ordered 2015 Spring Meet stakes calendar comprised of 16 stakes worth $4.35 million, an increase of $575,000 from 2014.   Seven stakes carry significant purse increases, led by the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G1), to be held one...

Keeneland moves up Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, increases purse to $1 million

Keeneland announced a richer, re-ordered 2015 Spring Meet stakes calendar comprised of 16 stakes worth $4.35 million, an increase of $575,000 from 2014.   Seven stakes carry significant purse increases, led by the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G1), to be held one week earlier, on opening Saturday, April 4, creating a blockbuster day of racing that features four other graded stakes, including the...

Keeneland Spring Meet, featuring Toyota
Blue Grass Stakes, out of starting gate today

Keeneland’s Spring Meet runs April 4-25.   Keeneland kicks off its 2014 Spring Meet today, marking the start of 15 days of racing and headlined by the 90th running of the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G1), a prominent prep for contenders pointing toward the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1).   In addition to racing, a special events calendar and new amenities for fans of all...

Keeneland Spring Meet, featuring Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, out of starting gate today

Keeneland’s Spring Meet runs April 4-25.   Keeneland kicks off its 2014 Spring Meet today, marking the start of 15 days of racing and headlined by the 90th running of the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G1), a prominent prep for contenders pointing toward the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1).   In addition to racing, a special events calendar and new amenities for fans of all...

National Museum of Horse Racing releases list of nominees for 2014 Hall of Fame

Jockey Garrett Gomez, a stakes-winning rider at Keeneland, is nominated for the 2014 National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame. (Photo from Keeneland)   Four jockeys, four Thoroughbreds and two trainers comprise the 10 finalists on the National Museum of Racing’s 2014 Hall of Fame ballot selected by the Hall of Fame Nominating Committee. The candidates are jockeys Chris Antley, Garrett...

Liane Crossley: McPeek savoring Blue Grass victory even as he considers Derby chances

Trainer Kenny McPeek, shown here with 1995 Derby runner up Tejano Run, has two Derby contenders this year. (Photo By Susan Lustig McPeek)   Kenny McPeek has two solid contenders for the Kentucky Derby on May 4, but he is savoring his recent victory in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland as much as the prospect of winning the Run for the Roses. On a recent morning at Keeneland, the Thoroughbred...