LEXINGTON, Ky. – Champion Shanghai Bobby, and fellow top Kentucky Derby (G1) contenders Orb, Verrazano, and Hear the Ghost lead the 189 three-year-olds nominated to this year’s $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1), to be run Saturday, April 13, at Keeneland.
Currently, 23 of the top 25 point earners on the Road to the Kentucky Derby are nominated to the 1 1/8-mile Toyota Blue Grass, one of the nation’s richest three-year-old preps.
Champion two-year-old colt and Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Shanghai Bobby headlines the 189 nominees, which are up from last year’s total of 180. Also nominated are the winners of nearly every major Derby prep to date, including Orb (Fountain of Youth Stakes-G2), Verrazano (Tampa Bay Derby-G2), Hear the Ghost (San Felipe-G2), Flashback (Robert B. Lewis Stakes-G2), Goldencents (Sham Stakes-G3), Falling Sky (Sam F. Davis Stakes-G3), Oxbow (Lecomte Stakes-G3), Itsmyluckyday (Holy Bull Stakes-G3), Overanalyze (Remsen Stakes-G2), Power Broker (FrontRunner Stakes-G1), and Super Ninety Nine (Southwest Stakes-G3).
“The Toyota Blue Grass nominees represent the most talented three-year-old colts currently on the Derby trail,” said Keeneland Vice President of Racing W.B. Rogers Beasley. “We appreciate the strong support of our horsemen, and look forward to an exciting spring meet.”
Todd Pletcher leads all trainers with 20 Toyota Blue Grass nominees, highlighted by Shanghai Bobby and Verrazano. Bob Baffert is represented by 15 nominees, among them Flashback, Power Broker, Super Ninety Nine and San Vicente Stakes (G2) winner Shakin It Up, while Kiaran McLaughlin nominated 12.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Darley Stable led owners with eight nominations, followed by Gary and Mary West with seven, and Ken and Sarah Ramsey with six.
The Blue Grass was first held at the old Kentucky Association track in Lexington from 1911-14 and from 1919-26, and revived by Keeneland during the track’s inaugural spring meeting, held in April 1937. In all, 23 horses – four at the Kentucky Association track and 19 at Keeneland – have used the Blue Grass as a path to victory in the Kentucky Derby, most recently champion Street Sense in 2007.
Donegal Racing’s Dullahan exploded in deep stretch to run down favored Hansen and win the 2012 Toyota Blue Grass. In doing so, Dullahan became only the second horse to win Keeneland’s Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1) as a two-year-old and return the following spring to win the Toyota Blue Grass (G1), joining Horse of the Year Round Table (1956-57).
Keeneland’s 2013 spring race meeting will be held April 5-26; racing Wednesday through Sunday. Post time for the first race is 1:05 p.m. ET.