(Hall of Fame Trainer D. Wayne Lukas will point sporting Chance to the G2 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland)

From the Media Team at Keeneland:


Robert Baker and William Mack’s Sporting Chance and Three Diamonds Farm’s California Night have joined the list of prospective starters for the 94th running of the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2).

The 1 1/8-mile dirt race on April 7 offers 170 points on a scale of 100-40-20-10 to the first four finishers on the Road to the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) to be run May 5.

Keeneland Stakes Coordinator Tiffany Bourque has 13 horses listed as probable for the race, one of five graded stakes on April 7.

Trained by two-time Blue Grass winner D. Wayne Lukas, Sporting Chance won the Hopeful (G1) at Saratoga last year and in 2018 has finished third in the Southwest (G3) and fifth in the Rebel (G2) at Oaklawn Park.

Lukas, who ranks second all-time in Keeneland stakes victories with 50, won the Blue Grass in 1987 with War and in 2000 with HighYield.

California Night, an allowance winner at Aqueduct in his most recent start, is trained by Mike Maker. He saddled Stately Victor to a 40-1 upset victory in the 2010 Blue Grass.

In addition to Sporting Chance, other Grade 1 winners deemed as probable starters are e Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables’ Good Magic, the champion 2-year-old of 2017 and winner of the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), and Albaugh Family Stables’ Free Drop Billy, winner of last fall’s Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) here.

Free Drop Billy will be seeking to become the fifth horse to sweep the Breeders’ Futurity and Blue Grass and become the third to do so for trainer Dale Romans, who did it with Dullahan and Brody’s Cause. Other horses to complete the double were Round Table and Carpe Diem.

Other graded stakes winners expected to be entered are Greg Hall and SAYJAY Racing’s Blended Citizen, John Oxley’s Flameawayand China Horse Club International, WinStar Farm and SF Racing’s Quip.

Other probable entrants include John Oxley’s Determinant, Lothenbach Stables’ Gotta Go, Agave Racing Stable, Bran Jam Stable, Little Red Feather Racing and D. Clark’s Heartfullofstars, Loooch Racing Stables and Ashley Quartarolo’s Machismo, Frank Jones Jr.’s TizMischief and Jackpot Ranch’s Zing Zang.

Considered as possible for the race is West Point Thoroughbreds’ Kanthaka, winner of the San Vicente (G2) at Santa Anita in February.


The following is a list of horses for the other seven graded stakes on the April 6-8 opening weekend of Keeneland’s 2018 Spring Meet, according to Keeneland Stakes Coordinator Tiffany Bourque:

$150,000 KENTUCKY UTILITIES TRANSYLVANIA (G3) (Entries taken Monday; race Friday April 6) – Probable: AdmiraltyPier, (trainer Barbara Minshall), Analyze It (Chad Brown), Beer Pressure (Anthony Quartarolo), Funny Duck (Rusty Arnold), Tigers Rule (Vickie Foley). Possible: Cash Call Kitten (Mike Maker), Gidu (IRE) (Todd Pletcher), Maraud (Pletcher), Rose’s Vision (Stuart Simon).

$500,000 CENTRAL BANK ASHLAND (G1) (Entries taken Tuesday; race Saturday, April 7) – Probable: Andina Del Sur (Tom Albertrani), C. S. Incharge (Dale Romans), Monomoy Girl (Brad Cox), Mrs Rocco (Cox). Possible: Eskimo Kisses (Kenny McPeek), Patrona Margarita (Bret Calhoun), Tyfosha (Doug O’Neill).

$300,000 MADISON (G1) (Entries taken Tuesday; race Saturday, April 7) – Probable: American Gal (Simon Callaghan), Finley’sluckycharm (Bret Calhoun), Impasse (D. Wayne Lukas), Lewis Bay (Chad Brown), Miss Sunset (Jeff Bonde), Tequilita (Michael Matz), Unchained Melody (Brian Lynch). Possible: Cuddle Alert (Reed Saldana), Mines and Magic (Vicki Oliver), Teresa Z (Anthony Margotta Jr.).

$250,000 COMMONWEALTH (G3) (Entries taken Tuesday; race Saturday, April 7) – Probable: Conquest Windycity (Mike Maker), Crewman (Dee Poulos), Eight Town (Brian Lynch), First Premio (Mark Casse), Limousine Liberal (Ben Colebrook), Shut the Box (Angel Montano), Warrior’s Club (D. Wayne Lukas).

$200,000 SHAKERTOWN (G2) (Entries taken Tuesday; race Saturday, April 7) – Probable: Bucchero (Tim Glyshaw), Disco Partner (Christophe Clement), Flashaway (Mark Casse), Kid Perfect (Angel Montano), Recruiting Ready (Horacio DePaz), Tombelaine (Catherine Day Phillips), Will Call (Brad Cox).

$200,000 APPALACHIAN (G2) PRESENTED BY JAPAN RACING ASSOCIATION (Entries taken Thursday; race Sunday, April 8) – Probable: Beach Waltz (Mike Maker), Daddy Is a Legend (Brian Lynch), Dixie Moon (Catherine Day Phillips), Heavenly Love (Mark Casse), Lounge Act (Brad Cox), Rushing Fall (Chad Brown), Thewayiam (FR) (Graham Motion), Treasuring (GB) (Simon Callaghan).

$150,000 BEAUMONT (G3) PRESENTED BY KEENELAND SELECT (Entries taken Thursday; race Sunday, April 8) – Probable: Almond Roca (Graham Motion), Criminal Mischief (D. Wayne Lukas), Dream It Is (Barbara Minshall), Gas Station Sushi (Richard Baltas), Good Move (Brad Cox), In the Mood (Stephen Sandy), Summer Sunday (Stuart Simon), Uppercut (Peter Eurton). Possible: Tyfosha (Doug O’Neill).


Woodbine-based trainer Barbara Minshall will bid for her first Keeneland stakes victory when she sends out Hoolie Racing Stable and Bruce Lunsford’s Admiralty Pier in the Kentucky Utilities Transylvania (G3) on April 6, opening day of the Spring Meet.

Minshall said the race has been the plan all along for Admiralty Pier, a 3-year-old gelding by English Channel, who was fourth in the 2017 Dixiana Bourbon (G3) at Keeneland and next was second by a nose in an allowance race at Woodbine before closing 2017 by winning the Display (L) at Woodbine in December in his most recent start.

Admiralty Pier began his 2018 preparations at the Webb Carroll Training Center in South Carolina.

“The owners want to have a fresh horse,” Minshall said. “It’s a long season starting now, and we don’t feel they can all go 12 months of the year and keep going. They need a bit of a break and he raced enough at 2, so he deserved a bit of a break.”

On Wednesday, Admiralty Pier worked 4 furlongs in :49.80 in preparation for the Kentucky Utilities Transylvania.

“Just a little maintenance breeze,” Minshall said Thursday morning. “He worked well. I thought everything went perfect. He came here and we felt that he was ready. We just wanted to open his lungs up after the trip.”

Minshall is hoping for the same opening-day luck she had last year at Saratoga when she won the Schuylerville (G3) with Hoolie Racing’sDream It Is. Dream It Is is nominated to Keeneland’s Beaumont (G3) Presented by Keeneland Select on Sunday, April 8.

“We’ve run a few times (at Keeneland), but haven’t (won a stakes), so we’re trying to get that off the list of things we need to do,” Minshall said. “Last year we won that stakes opening day at Saratoga, so let’s hope we can get one opening day at Keeneland.”