A tremendous card of top-level graded stakes racing is on tap on Saturday at Keeneland. The premier day of the 5-day unprecedented July meet features six graded stakes races culminating in a 2020 Kentucky Derby prep race in the Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes.
Trainer Kenny McPeek's superstar filly Swiss Skydiver already has enough points to be guaranteed a Kentucky Oaks berth, so he has her in the Blue Grass to run against the boys and possibly earn points for the Kentucky Derby.
She has been installed as the 3-1 morning line favorite for the race that drew a full field of 13, including Grade 1 winner Basin, graded stakes winner Enforceable and multiple stakes winners in Shivaree and Man in the can.
Below, you will find everything you need for Saturday's big day at Keeneland, including free past performances, expert selections for the Blue Grass, undercard stakes previews and so much more.
The TimeFormUS Pace Projector expects a fast early pace for the Blue Grass. No. 7 Swiss Skydiver and No. 1 Shivaree could be joined by No. 8 Basin for the early lead. No. 5 Man in the Can and No. 10 Rushie figure to sit just off the pace, while No. 11 Hunt for the Front and No. 12 Enforceable are projected to be in the back of the early pack.
RELATED: Stakes Saturday: Blue Grass headlines ten Saturday graded stakes races
Past performances for the 5-day Keeneland meet are free and can be downloaded here. For the biggest days of racing, Horse Racing Nation always has free past performances for the big race as well as selected races on the undercard. The Blue Grass, Ashland and Belmont Park's Ruffian all have free PPs at HRN's "free PPs" page.
Our experts provide picks, longshots and analysis for the 2020 Blue Grass Stakes. While Swiss Skydiver is the morning line favorite, not one HRN contributor selected her to win the Blue Grass in our Expert Picks.
Which expert's picks best coincide with yours? Take a look.
Handicapper Reinier Macatangay shares his analysis of one of the undercard stakes races, as he is trying to beat morning line even-money favorite Guarana in the Grade 1 Madison. He believes Mia Mischief is playable in the Madison at what should be much better odds.
Brian Zipse and Matt Shifman provide additional expert analysis of the Blue Grass, Ashland and some other key stakes races at Keeneland on Saturday in their weekly HorseCenter.
Race 4, Grade 2 Appalachian 2:45 p.m.
Race 5, Grade 1 Madison 3:18 pm
Race 6, Grade 2 Shakertown 3:51 p.m.
Race 7, Grade 1 Ashland 4:24 p.m.
Race 8, Grade 1 Jenny Wiley 4:57 p.m.
Peter Callahan’s Swiss Skydiver will try to put herself on the Kentucky Derby (G1) trail Saturday when she takes on males in a field of 13 horses entered for the 96th running of the $600,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G2) for 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles on Keeneland’s main track.
A major steppingstone for the $3 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve to be run Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs, the Toyota Blue Grass offers 170 points toward qualification to this year’s Derby with 100 points going to the winner, 40 to the runner-up, 20 to third place and 10 points to fourth. The Derby is limited to the top 20 point earners that pass the entry box.
This year’s Toyota Blue Grass, which marks the 25th year the race has been sponsored by Toyota, will go as the ninth race on Saturday’s 10-race program with a 5:30 p.m. ET post time. First post for the card that features six graded stakes is 1:05 p.m.
Trained by two-time Toyota Blue Grass winner Kenny McPeek, Swiss Skydiver will be seeking her initial Kentucky Derby points in her first test against males. She has won three graded stakes this year and compiled 310 points toward the $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) to be run Sept. 4.
Winner of the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), Fantasy (G3) and Santa Anita Oaks (G2) in her past three starts, Swiss Skydiver will get a 5-pound weight allowance Saturday and carry 118 pounds in the Toyota Blue Grass. Mike Smith has the mount and will break from post position seven.
Smith is a two-time Toyota Blue Grass winner, having scored in 1993 with Prairie Bayou and 1994 with Holy Bull.
In 1948, future Hall of Famer Bewitch was scratched from the Blue Grass.
Another accomplished runner in the field is Jackpot Farm’s Basin. Winner of the Runhappy Hopeful (G1) at Saratoga and most recently second in a division of the Arkansas Derby (G1), Basin ranks ninth on the Derby leaderboard with 50 points.
Trained by Steve Asmussen, Basin will be ridden Saturday by Ricardo Santana Jr. and break from post position eight.
Invading from California is Jim and Donna Daniell’s Rushie. Trained by Michael McCarthy, Rushie finished third in last month’s Santa Anita Derby (G1) in his stakes debut to gain 20 Derby points. Javier Castellano, who won last year’s running on Vekoma, has the mount and will break from post position 10.
Also looking to add to his Derby points total is John Oxley’s Enforceable. Winner of the Lecomte (G3) and runner-up in the Risen Star (G2), Enforceable is trained by Mark Casse and will be ridden by Joel Rosario. Enforceable is 14th on the Derby leaderboard with 33 points.
Rosario is seeking his second Toyota Blue Grass victory to go with the triumph in 2011 on Brilliant Speed. Enforceable, third in last fall’s Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1), will break from post 12.
In addition to McPeek, who won the Toyota Blue Grass with Harlan’s Holiday in 2002 and Java’s War in 2013, three other trainers will try to add to their win totals in the race.
Nick Zito, whose Blue Grass victories came with Strike the Gold (1991), Halory Hunter (1998) and The Cliff’s Edge (2004), will saddle Dream Walkin Farms’ Hunt the Front. A maiden winner at Oaklawn, Hunt the Front will be ridden by Corey Lanerie and break from post 11.
Dale Romans, a two-time Blue Grass winner with Dullahan (2012) and Brody’s Cause (2016), will send out graded stakes-placed Attachment Rate. Owned by Jim Bakke and Gerald Isbister, Attachment Rate will be ridden by Luis Saez and break from post nine. Saez won the 2016 Blue Grass for Romans on Brody’s Cause.
Bill Mott, who won the Toyota Blue Grass in 1984 with Taylor’s Special, will send out LNJ Foxwoods and NK Racing’s maiden winner Tiesto. Flavien Prat has the mount and will break from post 13.
Velazquez, who rode Bandini in 2005 and Carpe Diem in 2015 to victory for Todd Pletcher, has the call on Jacks or Better Farm’s Shivaree, who will break from the rail.
|#||Silks||Horse / Sire||Rank||Rating||Trainer / Jockey||Last Start||HRN|
Awesome of Course
B. Hernandez, Jr.
Can The Man
R. Santana, Jr.