With a week to go until the opening of the 15-day Keeneland Spring Meet, fields are taking shape for the 99thrunning of the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G1) to be run Saturday, April 8 and the 86th running of the $600,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1) on opening day, April 7.
Heading the list of probable entrants for the Toyota Blue Grass as compiled by Stakes Coordinator Baley Hare are the 1-2 finishers from the Tampa Bay Derby (G3): Whisper Hill Farm and Gainesway Stable’s Tapit Trice, trained by Todd Pletcher, and Gary Barber’s Classic Car Wash, trained by Mark Casse.
Other runners considered likely to be in the entry box Wednesday are Blazing Sevens (trainer Chad Brown), HayesStrike (Kenny McPeek), Major Blue (D. Wayne Lukas), Mendelssohns March (McPeek) and Verifying (BradCox). Considered as possible entrants are Raise Cain and Scoobie Quando, both trained by Ben Colebrook, and Sun Thunder (McPeek).
The Toyota Blue Grass, run at 1 1/8 miles on the main track, offers 200 points on a 100-40-30-20-10 scale to the first- through fifth-place finishers on the Road to the Kentucky Derby (G1) Presented by Woodford Reserve on May 6 at Churchill Downs.
D. J. Stable’s champion Wonder Wheel, winner of last fall’s Darley Alcibiades (G1) and NetJets Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) here for trainer Mark Casse, heads the list of probable starters for the Central Bank Ashland. Run at 1 1/16 miles on the main track, the Central Bank Ashland offers 200 points on the same scale as the Toyota Blue Grass for the Kentucky Oaks (G1) to be run May 5.
Other names expected to hit the entry box Tuesday are Defining Purpose (Kenny McPeek), Guns n’ Graces (Chad Brown), Julia Shining (Todd Pletcher), Pride of the Nile (Doug O’Neill) and Punchbowl (Brad Cox). Considered possible for the race is Effortlesslyelgant (Norm Casse).