Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Bobby’s Kitten, runaway winner of the Pilgrim (G3) last fall, heads a field of 14 horses and one also-eligible for Saturday’s 90th running of the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G1) at Keeneland.
The 1 1/8-mile Toyota Blue Grass serves as a major steppingstone for the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1).
The race offers 170 points toward qualification to this year’s Derby, with 100 points going to the winner, a total that would ensure a spot in the Churchill Downs starting gate.
A total of 19 horses that ran in the Toyota Blue Grass at Keeneland went on to win the Kentucky Derby, with the most recent being Street Sense in 2007.
The Toyota Blue Grass is scheduled to go off at 5:45 p.m. ET as the 11th race on Saturday’s 12-race program. First post time is 12:35 p.m. for the card that features four other graded stakes.
Temperatures are expected to be in the low 70s on Saturday.
Trained by Chad Brown, Bobby’s Kitten finished third as the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Santa Anita to close his 2013 campaign. Bobby’s Kitten opened 2014 with a front-running allowance win at Tampa Bay Downs on March 8.
Javier Castellano has the mount on Bobby’s Kitten, the 3-1 favorite in linemaker Mike Battaglia’s morning line. Bobby’s Kitten will break from post position five.
The second choice on the line at 9-2 is Spendthrift Farm’s Medal Count, winner of last Friday’s off-the-turf Transylvania (G3).
Trained by Dale Romans, Medal Count will break from post position 13 under Robby Albarado, who was aboard for the Transylvania victory. Romans is seeking his second Toyota Blue Grass victory to go with Dullahan’s triumph in 2012.
Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Susan Magnier’s Gala Award, winner of the Palm Beach (G3) in his most recent start, is the third choice on the line at 5-1. Gala Award is one of three horses entered in the Toyota Blue Grass by two-time race winner Todd Pletcher.
John Velazquez, who teamed with Pletcher to win the 2005 Toyota Blue Grass with Bandini, has the mount on Gala Award, who drew post position 14.
Pletcher’s other entrants are WinStar Farm and Twin Creeks Racing Stables’ Vinceremos, winner of the Sam F. Davis (G3) and Let’s Go Stable’s undefeated Divine Oath.
Edgar Prado has the mount on Vinceremos (8-1 on the morning line) and will break from post position 12. Prado is a three-time winner of the Toyota Blue Grass, having scored in 2002 with Harlan’s Holiday, Peace Rules in 2003 and Monba in 2008. Pletcher also trained Monba.
Divine Oath is an also-eligible and would run should any entrant scratch. Listed at 12-1 on the line, Divine Oath would be ridden by Julien Leparoux, who won last year’s running with Java’s War.
In addition to Pletcher and Romans, trainer Mike Maker will be trying to secure a multiple victory in the race.
Maker, who sent out Stately Victor to post the biggest upset in race history with an $82.20 payoff in 2010, will saddle Harry’s Holiday for Skychai Racing, Sand Dollar Stable, Terry Raymond and Jana Wagner. Rosie Napravnik has the call on Harry’s Holiday, who finished second in the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral (G3) in his most recent start. Harry’s Holiday (10-1) drew post position four.
Napravnik and Emma-Jayne Wilson will attempt to become the first female rider to win the race. Wilson has the mount on Bear Stables’ Asserting Bear (15-1) who will break from post position one.
Also trying to make Toyota Blue Grass history is Katerina Vassilieva, who will attempt to become the first woman trainer to win the race when she saddles Derby Dreamers Racing Stable’s Big Bazinga (20-1). Brian Hernandez Jr. will ride Big Bazinga and break from post position nine.
Like Prado, Velazquez and Leparoux, Alan Garcia will be seeking another victory in the race. Pilot of Stately Victor in 2010, Garcia has the call on Cabernet Racing Stables’ Coltimus Prime, who will break from post position six.
The complete field for the Toyota Blue Grass with jockey and morning-line odds from the rail out are as follows:
Asserting Bear (Wilson, 15-1)
Extrasexyhippzster (Julian Pimentel, 15-1)
Pablo Del Monte (Victor Espinoza, 12-1)
Harry’s Holiday (Napravnik, 10-1)
Bobby’s Kitten (Castellano, 3-1)
Coltimus Prime (Alan Garcia, 20-1)
Casiguapo (Rajiv Maragh, 30-1)
Dance With Fate (Corey Nakatani, 12-1)
Big Bazinga (Brian Hernandez Jr., 20-1)
So Lonesome (Joe Rocco Jr., 50-1)
Coastline (Stewart Elliott, 8-1)
Vinceremos (Prado, 8-1)
Medal Count (Albarado, 9-2)
Gala Award (Velazquez, 5-1).
Also-eligible: Divine Oath (Leparoux, 12-1).