Toyota Blue Grass Leads Five Keeneland Stakes April 8

March 27, 2023

Zandon captures the 2022 renewal of the Toyota Blue Grass (Coady Photography)

Keeneland Press Release

LEXINGTON, Ky.— For the first Saturday of the Spring Meet, Keeneland has carded 11 races, which will begin at 12:30 p.m. A total of 145 3-year-olds have been nominated to the 99th running of the 1 1/8-mile Toyota Blue Grass, including Whisper Hill Farm and Gainesway Stable’s Tapit Trice, winner of the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (G3).

The Toyota Blue Grass is the ninth race with a 5:15 p.m. post. NBC will televise the race along with the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby (G1) and another Keeneland stakes from 4:30-6 p.m.

The Toyota Blue Grass Stakes offers 200 points on a 100-40-30-20-10 scale to the first- through fifth-place finishers toward the Kentucky Derby (G1) Presented by Woodford Reserve to be run at Churchill on May 6.

Other April 8 stakes are the 22nd running of the $600,000 Madison (G1) for fillies and mares going 7 furlongs on the main track; 35th running of the $400,000 Appalachian (G2) Presented by Japan Racing Association for 3-year-old fillies at a mile on the turf; 27th running of the $350,000 Shakertown (G2) for 3-year-olds and up racing 5½ furlongs on the grass and 36th running of the $300,000 Commonwealth (G3) for 4-year-olds and up at 7 furlongs on the main track.

First Row Partners and Team Hanley’s champion Goodnight Olive headlines 29 nominees to the Madison. Trained by Chad Brown, Goodnight Olive has won her past six races, including the Grade 1 Ballerina and Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

Also nominated to the Madison are Grade 1 winners Chi Town Lady, owned by Castleton Lyons and trained by Wesley Ward; Matareya, owned by Godolphin and trained by Brad Cox; and Society, owned by Peter E. Blum Thoroughbreds and trained by Steve Asmussen.

Pleasant Passage and Cairo Consort, the second and third-place finishers, respectively, in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), headline the 39 fillies nominated to the Appalachian.

Owned by breeder Emory Hamilton and trained by Shug McGaughey, Pleasant Passage has won two of three races highlighted by a victory in the Miss Grillo (G2).

Cairo Consort, now owned by Repole Stable and Town and Country Racing and trained by Todd Pletcher, is a four-time winner. Topping her three stakes victories is a win in the Sweetest Chant (G3) at Gulfstream Park.

Other nominees include recent Grade 3 turf winners Mission of Joy, trained by Graham Motion and owned by RyZan Sun Racing and Madaket Stables, and Danse Macabre, trained by Kelsey Danner and owned by NBS Stable and Elements Racing.

Qatar Racing Limited, Marc Detampel and Madaket Stables’ Caravel, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) against males to close her 2022 campaign, tops a roster of 38 nominees to the Shakertown. Brad Cox trains Caravel.

Among other nominees are these graded stakes winners on turf: Lael Stables’ Arrest Me Red, trained by Wesley Ward; Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s Big Invasion, trained by Christophe Clement; and Anthony Fanticola’s Motorious (GB), trained by Phil D’Amato.

The Commonwealth attracted 36 nominations headed by Mark D. Breen’s Endorsed. Trained by Mike Maker, Endorsed has won his past three races with the latter two coming in one-turn mile races at Gulfstream in the Fred W. Hooper (G3) Presented by Whispering Angel and WinStar Gulfstream Park Mile (G2).

Other nominees of note are 2023 graded stakes winners Eastern Bay (General George-G3), owned by Built Wright Stables and trained by Lynn Cash; Spirit of Makena (San Carlos-G3 Presented by FanDuel), owned by Bruce Chandler and trained by George Papaprodromou; and Tejano Twist (Whitmore-G3), owned by JD Thoroughbreds and Joey Keith Davis and trained by Chris Hartman.

Entries for the April 8 program will be taken Wednesday, April 5.

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