A field of 13 line up in Saturday’s $600,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G2), one of six graded stakes on an outstanding racing card at Keeneland.
The Blue Grass is a Road to the Kentucky Derby points race, with 100-40-20-10 points awarded to the top four finishers. This year’s Kentucky Derby will be contested at Churchill Downs on Saturday, Sept. 5.
The Ken McPeek trained Swiss Skydiver takes on the boys and is the 3-1 morning line favorite. The filly has won three in a row, taking the Santa Anita Oaks (G2) in her last outing on June 6.
Rushie (5-1) competed that same day in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) where the Mike McCarthy trainee ran third, beaten four lengths by A.P. Honor who is currently the second choice in early Kentucky Derby wagering at BUSR at 5-1. Tiz the Law is the current favorite for the Run for the Roses at 3-2.
“He’s very tactical,” McCarthy said. “He’s got plenty of natural ability and natural speed. I would imagine he’d probably be laying somewhere in that first group of horses going into the first turn. We’re going to let him earn his way to the first Saturday in September – that sounds strange to say that.”
There is plenty strange about 2020, like the Belmont Stakes (G1) being the first jewel of the Triple Crown and Keeneland racing in July.
Saturday’s card at Keeneland is outstanding with six stakes, three of them Grade 1 races. The $350,000 Jenny Wiley, $400,00 Ashland and $250,000 Madison will be decided today.
Also on the card are the $150,000 Appalachian (G2) and the $150,000 Shakertown (G2). I will have my full card reports available for both Keeneland and Belmont Park for Saturday.
Get a $300 Risk Free Bet at TVG.
Let’s head out to Keeneland for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Keeneland Race 9 The Toyota Blue Grass G2 (Post time 5:30 ET)
10 Rushie 5-1
8 Basin 8-1
7 Swiss Skydiver 3-1
1 Shivaree 8-1
The McCarthy trainee put in a solid effort in his stakes debut last out in the Santa Anita Derby (G1). The colt stalked the early pace and finished evenly in a third-place finish behind a couple of very talented colts in Honor A.P. and Authentic, two of the leading Kentucky Derby contenders. The colt was a sharp winner versus Alw-1 foes two back at Oaklawn Park after running into Charlatan in his first start against winners, checking in a distant second. That foe won one of the divisions of the Arkansas Derby (G1) but is now off the Derby Trail with an injury. The colt owns solid early and mid pace numbers and should be forwardly placed with Castellano likely to send him early with his outside post. The $70,000 Ocala purchase is by Liam’s Map out of a Colonel John mare and should be able to handle nine furlongs.
This colt has come up short in three starts this year after capping off his juvenile campaign by winning the Hopeful (G1) at Saratoga last September going seven furlongs in the slop. His last effort was his best, chasing Charlatan throughout in the Arkansas Derby where he had to settle for the runner up spot, beaten six lengths. He caught slop in his first two starts this year, a third behind Nadal in the Rebel (G2) and a fourth in the Oaklawn Stakes. He looks as if he still may have some upside and the 8-1 morning line looks fair enough. He is out of a Johannesburg mare that has dropped six other winners including $1.2 million earner Rise Up.
She takes on the boys here and has won three in a row. Last out she took the field gate to wire to win the Santa Anita Oaks (G2). She has won over four different racing surfaces and owns a solid pace profile throughout. Her last pair of numbers fit well here, and she is getting a five-pound break in the weights. She has given every indication she can handle the extra ground here. She is by Daredevil out of a Johannesburg mare. Smith is in to ride and she fits but her price may end up on the light side.