Review of Blue Grass Stakes at Keenland on April 6

The opening weekend of Keeneland’s spring meet provides several stakes races, including the Blue Grass Stakes on Saturday. The 1 1/8 miles dirt race is for 3-year-olds and is one of the final prep races for the 2019 Kentucky Derby. The Blue Grass Stakes awards qualifying points for the 2019 Kentucky Derby to the top four finishers on a 100-40-20-10 scale. 

Race 10. Blue Grass Stakes, (GII). For three-year-old at 1 1/8 miles on dirt. Purse $1,000,000.

Entries:

PP Horse Jockey Trainer M/L
1 Somelikeithotbrown Tyler Gaffalione Michael J. Maker 10/1
2 Vekoma Javier Castellano George Weaver 9/5
3 Signalman Brian Hernandez, Jr. Kenneth McPeek 5/1
4 Market King Jon Court D. Wayne Lukas 20/1
5 Chess Chief Paco Lopez Dallas Stewart 30/1
6 Dream Maker Florent Geroux Mark Casse 12/1
7 Admire Robby Albarado Dale Romans 15/1
8 Win Win Win Irad Ortiz, Jr. Michael Trombetta 7/2
9 Sir Winston Julien Leparoux Mark Casse 15/1
10 Lucky Lee Chris Landeros John Servis 20/1
11 So Alive Luis Saez Todd Pletcher 15/1
12 Parsimony Mario Gutierrez Doug O’Neill 20/1
13 Moonster John McKee Dale Romans 30/1
14 Aquadini Corey Lanerie Dallas Stewart 30/1

Somelikeithotbrown won the Jeff Ruby Steaks (GIII) on the dirt. He finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and second in both the Pilgrim Stakes (GIII) and With Anticipation Stakes (GIII). He needs to prove he can compete on the dirt against GI competitors. He currently has 20 Derby points. If he likes the surface ,he should finish in the top four. 

Vekoma followed the fast pace setters in the Fountain of Youth to finish third. record pace. Before his brief layoff, he won the Nashua Stakes (GIII) last November at Aqueduct. His only negative is the odd running motion he uses. He runs with an unorthodox leg action, but it does not seem to affect his ability to compete at this level. He currently has 10 Derby points. He likes the stalk the pace and wait till the turn for home to show off his late kick. He should finish in the top two.  

Signalman had an excellent fall campaign. He ran second in the Breeders’ Futurity (GI), third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and first in the Kentucky Jockey Club (GII). Then he returned in the Fountain of Youth last month, and he didn’t show his juvenile ability as he ended up running seventh.  He may have needed a race, to find himself. He had the ability and if it returns here he should finish in top three.

Market King has started seven time and his record is 1-1-2. He ran third in the second division of Oaklawn Park’s Rebel Stakes (G2). He should be forwardly placed and set solid fractions. He needs to set a pace that is moderate to slow, if he has any chance of collecting a check. He should not be a factor at the wire.  

Chess Chief is a recent maiden winner. He lacks stakes experience or showing any ability to classify him as a possible GII competitor. He is not ready to compete at this level. He should not be a factor.

Dream Maker finished 12th and second-to-last in the Breeders’ Futurity (GI) last fall. He returned in February with a big optional claiming win by over eight lengths at Fair Grounds, and then ran 10th in the Risen Star Stakes (GII). He needs to be a more consistent runner to find the winner’s circle at the graded level. If he runs his best then he could be on the board but if not, then he could finish in top six.

Admire ran fifth in the Withers Stakes (G3) and a seventh in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2). He did some running at Tampa Bay with a mild rail bid into a fast pace. If he puts in the same effort here, he should receive a check for his effort. He should not be a factor at the wire. 

Win Win Win likes to set the pace. In the Tampa Bay Derby he sprinted to the lead but ran out of air down the lane to finish third. He had the pace he wanted but found the 1 1/16-mile distance to be an issue. He will be forwardly placed and on the lead, but the 1 1/8-mile distance will be too much. He has 10 Derby points. He will be not be a factor at the wire.

Sir Winston likes a fast pace and may receive one from this field. He ran fifth in the Tampa Bay Derby and recorded a fourth place finish in Aqueduct’s Withers Stakes (GIII). He has one Derby point. He should finish in the top eight.

Lucky Lee won two races at Parx. He ran last in the Withers. He is not ready or able to compete against the level of competition. He will not be a factor.

So Alive will need a ridiculous pace to have a chance of being on the board. He ran third in the Sam F. Davis (GIII) but finished 11 1/2 lengths behind the winner. He won an optional claimer at Tampa Bay, but it came over a weak bunch. He is not ready or able to compete against the level of competition. He will not be a factor.

Parsimony has started eight times  and is still a maiden. He finished eighth by 13 1/4 lengths in the second-division Rebel Stakes (GII) and lost three maiden races at Santa Anita this year. He is not ready to compete at this level. He might receive a check for his afternoon workout effort. He will not be a factor. 

Moonster finished third in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (GIII) at Turfway Park, it came with a massive pace setup over synthetic. His finished eighth by 16 1/4 lengths in the Sam F. Davis Stakes, which is his only dirt race this year. He might receive a check for his afternoon workout effort. He will not be a factor. 

Aquadini broke his maiden by more than five lengths. He lost by 3/4 of a length in a Fair Grounds optional claimer, note the 13 3/4-length margin between him and the third-place finisher. He has never faced graded stakes competition.  He is not ready to compete against this level of competition. He will run a solid race from the mid-pack but not good enough to be a factor at the wire.

Our Top Three Picks:

  • Vekoma
  • Signalman
  • Somelikeithotbrown

 

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