Opening Weekend at Keeneland Features Eight Stakes

Keeneland opens Friday for the spring meeting with eight graded stakes over the opening weekend. (Photo credit:

Keeneland’s 2018 Spring Meet, which kicks off Friday, April 6, promises 16 days of spectacular racing highlighted by 16 stakes worth a season-record $4.4 million. The meet gets off to a fast start as opening weekend will showcase many of racing’s stars competing in eight graded stakes, led by the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G2) and $500,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1), nationally prominent prep races on the 2018 Roads to the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Kentucky Oaks (G1), respectively.

Also featured this Spring are lowered takeout and an Early Pick 5; robust social and digital media that deliver handicapping tools and information to your fingertips; a new “Today at Keeneland” preview show; popular special events that support community initiatives; exciting new brands and returning favorites at The Keeneland Shop and enhanced food and hospitality options, all designed to create the best racing experience possible for our fans.

The Spring Meet runs April 6-27, with racing Wednesdays through Sundays. Gates open at 11 a.m. ET, with post time for the first race set for 1:05 p.m.

Lucrative Purses Attract Racing’s Top Stables
This spring, Keeneland will offer average daily purse money of $731,365, among the highest in North America. The rich purse schedule and idyllic surroundings attract the nation’s top owners, trainers and jockeys, who come to Keeneland to compete with the best in Thoroughbred racing.

Keeneland welcomes Kentucky Utilities as the new sponsor of the $150,000 Transylvania (G3) on opening day. The Transylvania is a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds over the turf course.

Opening Saturday, April 7, features 11 races, including five graded stakes led by the Toyota Blue Grass for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles and the Central Bank Ashland for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles. Each is worth 100 points to the winners on the Roads to the Derby and Oaks, respectively. The post position draw for both classic preps will be held Tuesday, April 3, and will be streamed on Facebook Live @Keeneland.

The Toyota Blue Grass Day undercard comprises the $300,000 Madison (G1), for fillies and mares at 7 furlongs; $200,000 Shakertown (G2), for 3-year-olds and up at 5½ furlongs on the turf; and $250,000 Commonwealth (G3), for 4-year-olds and up over 7 furlongs.

Opening weekend concludes Sunday, April 8, with the upgraded Appalachian (G2) Presented by Japan Racing Association, now worth $200,000 for 3-year-old fillies at a mile on the turf, and the $150,000 Beaumont (G3) Presented by Keeneland Select, for 3-year-old fillies going 7 furlongs, 184 feet, on dirt.

The $300,000 Maker’s 46 Mile (G1), for older horses on the turf, will be held Friday, April 13.

Four stakes highlight the second Saturday of racing, April 14, anchored by the $350,000 Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1), a 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares on the turf, and the $200,000 Stonestreet Lexington (G3), for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles. One of the nation’s final classic preps, the Stonestreet Lexington awards the winner 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. Rounding out the undercard that day are the $200,000 Ben Ali (G3), for older horses racing 1 1/8 miles, and $100,000 Giant’s Causeway (L), a 5½-furlong turf race for fillies and mares.

Older horses are showcased in graded stakes during the final days of the Spring Meet. The $100,000 Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare (G3), for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles, is set for Friday, April 20, followed by the $250,000 Dixiana Elkhorn (G2) at 1½ miles on the turf on Saturday, April 21. Closing day, April 27, features the 150,000 Bewitch (G3), for fillies and mares racing 1½ miles on the turf.

As of March 31, here are the probable and possible starters for the other seven graded stakes on the April 6-8 opening weekend of Keeneland’s 2018 Spring Meet, according to Keeneland Stakes Coordinator Tiffany Bourque.

Click here for additional information Keeneland’s April 6-8 opening weekend stakes, including a complete lists of nominees and past performances.

$150,000 KENTUCKY UTILITIES TRANSYLVANIA (G3) (Entries taken Monday; race Friday April 6) – Probable: Admiralty Pier, (trainer Barbara Minshall), Analyze It (Chad Brown), Beer Pressure (Anthony Quartarolo), Funny Duck (Rusty Arnold), Tigers Rule (Vickie Foley). Possible: Cash Call Kitten (Mike Maker), Gidu (IRE) (Todd Pletcher), Maraud (Pletcher), Rose’s Vision (Stuart Simon).

$500,000 CENTRAL BANK ASHLAND (G1) (Entries taken Tuesday; race Saturday, April 7) – Probable: Andina Del Sur (Tom Albertrani), C. S. Incharge (Dale Romans), Monomoy Girl (Brad Cox), Mrs Rocco (Cox). Possible: Eskimo Kisses (Kenny McPeek), Patrona Margarita (Bret Calhoun), Tyfosha (Doug O’Neill).

$300,000 MADISON (G1) (Entries taken Tuesday; race Saturday, April 7) – Probable: American Gal (Simon Callaghan), Finley’sluckycharm (Bret Calhoun), Impasse (D. Wayne Lukas), Lewis Bay (Chad Brown), Miss Sunset (Jeff Bonde), Tequilita (Michael Matz), Unchained Melody (Brian Lynch). Possible: Cuddle Alert (Reed Saldana), Mines and Magic (Vicki Oliver), Teresa Z (Anthony Margotta Jr.).

$250,000 COMMONWEALTH (G3) (Entries taken Tuesday; race Saturday, April 7) – Probable: Conquest Windycity (Mike Maker), Crewman (Dee Poulos), Eight Town (Brian Lynch), First Premio (Mark Casse), Limousine Liberal (Ben Colebrook), Shut the Box (Angel Montano), Warrior’s Club (D. Wayne Lukas).

$200,000 SHAKERTOWN (G2) (Entries taken Tuesday; race Saturday, April 7) – Probable: Bucchero (Tim Glyshaw), Disco Partner (Christophe Clement), Flashaway (Mark Casse), Kid Perfect (Angel Montano), Recruiting Ready (Horacio DePaz), Tombelaine (Catherine Day Phillips), Will Call (Brad Cox).

$200,000 APPALACHIAN (G2) PRESENTED BY JAPAN RACING ASSOCIATION (Entries taken Thursday; race Sunday, April 8) – Probable: Beach Waltz (Mike Maker), Daddy Is a Legend (Brian Lynch), Dixie Moon (Catherine Day Phillips), Heavenly Love (Mark Casse), Lounge Act (Brad Cox), Rushing Fall (Chad Brown), Thewayiam (FR) (Graham Motion), Treasuring (GB) (Simon Callaghan).

$150,000 BEAUMONT (G3) PRESENTED BY KEENELAND SELECT (Entries taken Thursday; race Sunday, April 8) – Probable: Almond Roca (Graham Motion), Criminal Mischief (D. Wayne Lukas), Dream It Is (Barbara Minshall), Gas Station Sushi (Richard Baltas), Good Move (Brad Cox), In the Mood (Stephen Sandy), Summer Sunday (Stuart Simon), Uppercut (Peter Eurton). Possible: Tyfosha (Doug O’Neill).

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