(Tapit Trice / Photo Courtesy of Tampa Bay Downs)

From the Keeneland Media Team:


With a week to go until the opening of the 15-day Keeneland Spring Meet, fields are taking shape for the 99th running of the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G1) to be run Saturday, April 8 and the 86th running of the $600,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1) on opening day, April 7.

Heading the list of probable entrants for the Toyota Blue Grass as compiled by Stakes Coordinator Baley Hare are the 1-2 finishers from the Tampa Bay Derby (G3): Whisper Hill Farm and Gainesway Stable’s Tapit Trice, trained by Todd Pletcher, and Gary Barber’s Classic Car Wash, trained by Mark Casse.

Other runners considered likely to be in the entry box Wednesday are Blazing Sevens (trainer Chad Brown), Hayes Strike (KennyMcPeek), Major Blue (D. Wayne Lukas), Mendelssohns March (McPeek) and Verifying (Brad Cox). Considered as possible entrants are Raise Cain and Scoobie Quando, both trained by Ben Colebrook, and Sun Thunder (McPeek).

The Toyota Blue Grass, run at 1 1/8 miles on the main track, offers 200 points on a 100-40-30-20-10 scale to the first- through fifth-place finishers on the Road to the Kentucky Derby (G1) Presented by Woodford Reserve on May 6 at Churchill Downs.

J. Stable’s champion Wonder Wheel, winner of last fall’s Darley Alcibiades (G1) and NetJets Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) here for trainer Mark Casse, heads the list of probable starters for the Central Bank Ashland. Run at 1 1/16 miles on the main track, the Central Bank Ashland offers 200 points on the same scale as the Toyota Blue Grass for the Kentucky Oaks (G1) to be run May 5.

Other names expected to hit the entry box Tuesday are Defining Purpose (Kenny McPeek), Guns n’ Graces (Chad Brown), JuliaShining (Todd Pletcher), Pride of the Nile (Doug O’Neill) and Punchbowl (Brad Cox). Considered possible for the race is Effortlesslyelgant (Norm Casse).


A total of eight stakes worth a combined $4.05 million will be run next Friday and Saturday during the first two days of Keeneland’s Spring Meet. The following is a list of prospective entrants in those races compiled by Stakes Coordinator Baley Hare.

April 7 races. Entries taken Tuesday.

$600,000 CENTRAL BANK ASHLAND (G1) – Defining Purpose (trainer Kenny McPeek), Guns n’ Graces (Chad Brown),Julia Shining (Todd Pletcher), Pride of the Nile (Doug O’Neill), Punchbowl (Brad Cox), Wonder Wheel (Mark Casse). Possible:Effortlesslyelgant (Norm Casse)

$400,000 KENTUCKY UTILITIES TRANSYLVANIA (G3) – Andthewinneris (Wayne Catalano), Freedom Trail (John Terranova II), Mi Hermano Ramon (Mark Glatt), Mo Stash (Vicki Oliver), Webslinger (Mark Casse) and Wonderful Justice(GB) (Brad Cox). Possible: Nagirroc (Graham Motion).

$400,000 LAFAYETTE – Corona Bolt (Cox), Determinedly (Mark Casse), Hurricane J (Paulo Lobo), Lugan Knight (Michael McCarthy). Possible: Damon’s Mound (Michelle Lovell), Invulnerable (Joe Sharp).

April 8 races. Entries taken Wednesday.

$1 MILLION TOYOTA BLUE GRASS (G1) – Blazing Sevens (Chad Brown), Classic Car Wash (Mark Casse), Hayes Strike(McPeek), Major Blue (D. Wayne Lukas), Mendelssohns March (McPeek), Tapit Trice (Pletcher), Verifying (Cox). Possible: Raise Cain (Ben Colebrook), Scoobie Quando (Colebrook), Sun Thunder (McPeek).

$600,000 MADISON (G1) – Maryquitecontrary (Shug McGaughey), Yuugiri (Rodolphe Brisset). Possible: Caramel Swirl (Bill Mott), Goodnight Olive (Brown).

$400,000 APPALACHIAN (G2) PRESENTED BY JAPAN RACING ASSOCIATION – Alluring Angel (GB) (Jorge Abreu),Be Your Best (IRE) (Horacio De Paz), Beautifulnavigator (IRE) (McPeek), Heavenly Sunday (Cox), Papilio (IRE) (Mark Casse), Pleasant Passage (McGaughey). Possible: Sabalenka (Whit Beckman).

$350,000 SHAKERTOWN (G2) – Caravel (Cox), Johnny Unleashed (Eric Foster), Mister Mmmmm (Catalano), Our Shot(Terranova). Possible: Oceanic (Jordan Blair), Stitched (Greg Foley).

$300,000 COMMONWEALTH (G3) – Heart Rhythm (John Ortiz), Hoist the Gold (Dallas Stewart), Long Range Toddy(Stewart), Nakatomi (Wesley Ward). Possible: Eastern Bay (Lynn Cash), Sir Alfred James (Cash).



Rain began falling just before training began at 5:30 a.m. and continued throughout the morning, washing out several scheduled grass works.

Ashbrook Farm and Upland Flats Racing’s Red Carpet Ready worked a half-mile in :48.60 while the main track was still listed as fast.

“I wanted to test her on the grass, and she never has been on it,” trainer Rusty Arnold said of Red Carpet Ready, winner of three of four races including the Forward Gal (G3). “I’m not sure what I am going to do with her. She is nominated to the Appalachian (G2) and the (April 14) Limestone (L) on the grass and the (April 16) Beaumont (G2) on the main track.” …

Susan Moulton’s Andthewinneris, winner of last fall’s Castle & Key Bourbon (G2) here, worked a half-mile in :48 over the fast main track for trainer Wayne Catalano as his final prep for an expected start in next Friday’s Kentucky Utilities Transylvania (G3). …

Trainer Brad Cox worked Transylvania hopeful Wonderful Justice (GB) a half-mile in :49 on the all-weather training track for owner Blue Diamond Stud Farm. Cox’s Toyota Blue Grass hopeful, Verifying, owned by the partnership of Westerberg Limited, Mrs. John Magnier, Jonathan Poulin, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor, worked 5 furlongs in :59.40.

Cox postponed a scheduled grass work for 2022 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) winner Caravel, opting to gallop over the training track where a work is tentatively scheduled for Saturday. Owned by Qatar Racing Limited, Marc Detampel and Madaket Stables, Caravel is expected to make her 2023 debut in next Saturday’s Shakertown (G2).