For horseplayers, spring really does not arrive until Keeneland opens its doors, and starting Friday we have 15 days of high quality racing to look forward to at the Lexington track.
The opening day feature is the 24th running of the $100,000 Transylvania (G3) for three-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the turf course.
The marquee event of the spring meeting is the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G1) on April 14, which will feature last year’s juvenile champion Hansen.
Saturday’s $500,000 Ashland (G1) for three-year-old fillies is a key prep for the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs on May 4. The Ashland will be televised live along with the $1 million Wood Memorial (G1) and $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (G1) during a 90-minute telecast on NBC starting at 4:30 ET.
Other Grade 1’s coming up at Keeneland include $300,000 Madison for fillies and mares on April 12; the $300,000 Maker’s 46 Mile (formerly the Maker’s Mark Mile) for four-year-olds on April 13, and the $300,000 Jenny Wiley for fillies and mares on the turf on April 14.
A total of 16 stakes races will be run during the spring meeting with purses exceeding $3.6 million. Racing will be conducted Wednesday through Sunday with the exception of a dark day on Easter Sunday.
Let’s head out to Keeneland for Friday’s featured race of the day:
Keeneland Race 9 The Transylvania G3 Post time 5:13 ET
- State of Play 3/1
- Icon Ike 7/2
- Monastic 5/2
- Silver Max 7/2
State of Play is coming off a game victory in the John Battaglia Memorial over the polytrack at Turfway Park. The four he beat in that race have not done much in their next starts, the best effort a fourth by Dynamical in the Rushaway. The colt ran well on turf in his first two career starts, breaking his maiden in his debut then winning the With Anticipation (G2) in his first go against winners. He capped off his juvenile campaign by fading to finish 12th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). The colt looks primed for a top effort in his third start of his current form cycle for the Motion barn that is 19% winners moving runners from the fake stuff to turf.
Icon Mike came off a two month break to make a good late rally to win the Black Gold at Fair Grounds going 7 ½ furlongs over a yielding turf. The runner up in the race was Hero of Order, who came back to pull off the shocker in the Louisiana Derby (G2) in his next start at 109/1 odds. The colt has enough pedigree to handle the stretch out to a route.
Monastic had to check early while racing rank, made a good middle move and rallied to finish third last out in the allowance ranks in his first start off a four month layoff. The gelding was a good looking Alw-1 winner two back at Churchill Downs over yielding turf. This guy has the pedigree to be a good one, a half to stakes winner Keertana ($1.03 million) and Snow Top Mountain ($427K). The gelding figures to move forward second off the bench for the Proctor barn while the price may end up on the light side.
WIN: State of Play to win at 5/2 or better.
EX: 1,7 / 1,5,6,7
TRI: 1,7 / 1,5,6,7 / 1,4,5,6,7
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