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A Rite of Spring: The 100th Running of the Blue Grass Stakes

April 1 through August 16, 2024

Named after Kentucky’s picturesque Bluegrass region to showcase its legacy as the breeding ground for exceptional racehorses, the Blue Grass Stakes was inaugurated at the Kentucky Association racetrack in 1911. The track, which stood in what is now Lexington’s East End and operated from 1828 to 1933, hosted the race from 1911 to 1914 and from 1919 to 1926. The Blue Grass was revived at Keeneland during its inaugural 11-day Spring Meet in April 1937. 

From the unexpected win by the Earl Sande-trained colt Fencing in 1937 through favored Tapit Trice’s victory in 2023 that secured trainer Todd Pletcher’s fourth win in Keeneland’s spring centerpiece, the Blue Grass Stakes maintains a history of close finishes, upsets, fan favorites, and some of racing’s all-time greats. Among the equine stars who took the stage in the venerable race are one runner who would claim the Triple Crown (Whirlaway), 10 winners who would secure their place in the Racing Hall of Fame, 11 winners who would triumph in the Kentucky Derby, and 55 runners who won Triple Crown races. 

The exhibit is freely accessible to the public and racing fans of all ages during the Library’s operating hours of Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and access to the exhibit's virtual companion is available 24/7.