Photo: Heidi E. Carpenter
At Keeneland on Saturday, the Blue Grass Stakes day weather was as good as it gets--bright and hot without being humid. After the terrible winter of 2013-2014, it was nice to have a taste of summer.
Two Grade III and three Grade I stakes races were the highlights of the Blue Grass Stakes card.
The first stakes of the day was the Commonwealth Stakes (Gr. III), which was won by Occasional View, Alan Garcia up.
Next up was the Shakertown Stakes (Gr. III), which was captured in a stirring finish by Marchman (outside, Robby Albarado up).
After the wire of the Shakertown stakes.
The Grade I Madison Stakes was up next. Byrama (GB) was one contender.
Judy the Beauty, winner of last fall's Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (Gr. II) at Keeneland over Groupie Doll, was the favorite for the Madison. Her attentive groom rarely took his eyes off her.
Judy the Beauty being saddled by owner/trainer Wesley Ward.
Better Lucky, winner of last fall's First Lady Stakes (Gr. I) at Keeneland, was another contender in the Madison.
Judy the Beauty's groom cleans the corners of her eyes before taking her to the walking ring.
With convincing style, Judy the Beauty--John Velazquez up--won the Madison and thereby remained undefeated on Keeneland's polytrack. She also became a millionaire with this win.
Up next was the Grade I Jenny Wiley Stakes, which Centre Court (pictured) won in 2013.
Race favorite Stephanie's Kitten protests the girth.
The beautiful Discreet Marq was another contender in the Jenny Wiley...
...as was Hard Not to Like.
Discreet Marq contended with Cloud Scapes for the lead early in the Jenny Wiley.
While Discreet Marq contended with Centre Court, Hard Not to Like slipped to the front on the inside.
Hard Not to Like, Javier Castellano up, captured her first Grade I win while Discreet Marq hung on for second.
Bobby's Kitten was the favorite for the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (Gr. I).
And they're off in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes!
The field enters the first turn.
In the stretch, Dance With Fate, Corey Nakatani up, closed from the back of the pack to win the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes.
...as Dance With Fate is led back to the winner's circle.