Over the last few months, there’s been speculation about when the Blue Grass Stakes would take place or if it could even get scheduled. As things continue to get sorted out, a shortened five-day summer meet at Keeneland was announced, and the iconic prep race returned on Saturday as the feature race on an action-packed day in Lexington.
After a three-race stretch that awarded points on a much lower scale, the impact of the Blue Grass Stakes on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard is significant now that the scale has tilted back to a payout of 100-40-20-10. With the increased points and many horses taken off of the Kentucky Derby trail in recent weeks, a new contender has climbed into the top five.
Here is an updated look at the points picture ahead of the Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5.
Art Collector, 100 points
With the postponement of the Kentucky Derby, the field that enters the starting gate will include many late bloomers that would have never had the chance to run for the roses if it was on the first Saturday in May. The son of Bernardini is a horse that fits this profile, but he is also a real contender on the updated schedule with an impressive win in the Blue Grass Stakes. Trained by Thomas Drury, Jr., Art Collector has stamped his ticket for the Kentucky Derby after his first start in a Kentucky Derby points race.
Basin, 50 points
The connections for the son of Liam’s Map can still look ahead to the Kentucky Derby following a disappointing 10th place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes. If they press on, his stay at Oaklawn should get all of the credit. It was there that Basin got started with a third-place finish in the Rebel before he finished runner-up in the Arkansas Derby. If connections feel that he’s going to need another start in a points race to add on to his total, there are still three races remaining on the series schedule in August.
On the Bubble
Enforceable, 43 points
It’s debatable what the cut-off will be in 2020. Until we know more about the leaderboard after the Haskell, Travers, and possibly the Ellis Park Derby, these points are not enough to earn a guaranteed entry in the Kentucky Derby.
Despite the unanswered leaderboard questions, the son of Tapit has been very consistent on the Kentucky Derby trail. In six points series races, his only blemish was a 5th place effort in the Louisiana Derby. In the other five races, Enforceable never finished outside the top four, which included a win in the Lecomte Stakes (G3).
Swiss Skydiver, 40 points
It was a valiant effort against the boys, and one that we don't often see in the Kentucky Derby points era, but the chance to become a dual qualifier came up just short. As the Kentucky Oaks points leader, Swiss Skydiver had nothing to lose, and their connections should be feeling great about their girl. There’s an outside chance that 40 points might still be enough to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, but even if it is, it looks like this top 3-yr-old filly is bound for the Kentucky Oaks.
Rushie, 40 points
This late bloomer continued his delayed charge for qualifying with another third-place finish. Before the Blue Grass Stakes, the son of Liam’s Map, followed up on his first allowance win by finishing third in the Santa Anita Derby. When the horses that have beaten him are considered, including Charlatan in an allowance race in March, this 3-yr-old is worthy of his ranking. However, Rushie is not Triple Crown nominated, so it is uncertain if he will be in the Kentucky Derby field even if 40 points is enough to get him in.
Shivaree, 40 points
A horse that has the points doesn’t always appear to be a real contender. That might apply to Shivaree, who snuck onto the Kentucky Derby radar with a solid runner-up finish in the Florida Derby. That performance, however, was not repeated in the Blue Grass Stakes. The son of Awesome of Course is ranked in the top twenty, but it’s questionable if his point total will be enough to keep him there. Another big question for this 3-yr-old is if the Kentucky Derby trail is the right race distance for Shivaree. His early success in advance of the Florida Derby came from sprints, so the connections will have to decide what distance will give him the best shot at winning.
Finnick the Fierce, 25 points
The son of Dialed In has had several chances to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, but this attempt in the Blue Grass Stakes may be his last. Finnick the Fierce has done enough to score a respectable amount points on the Kentucky Derby trail. Still, his seventh-place finish on Saturday puts his connections in a tight spot with only one more chance at qualifying.
Attachment Rate, 15 points
This 3-yr-old son of Hard Spun squeaked back onto the Kentucky Derby radar after finishing 4th in the Matt Winn (G3). Before that, a third-place finish in the Gotham (G3) helped Attachment Rate start his bid. Following a fifth-place effort in the Blue Grass Stakes, his next start is likely to be the Ellis Park Derby or away from the Kentucky Derby trail completely.