Keeneland’s Toyota Blue Grass elevated to Grade 1 status

April 9 race a Derby prep, eyes 98th running

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Keeneland) – Keeneland’s $1 million Toyota Blue Grass Stakes has been elevated to Grade 1 status for the 2022 Spring Meet, as announced today by the American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.

The Toyota Blue Grass, which celebrates its 98th running on Saturday, April 9, is a premier 3-year-old prep worth 170 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby (G1), including 100 qualifying points to the winner. The race had been a Grade 2 stakes since 2017.

In recent years, the Toyota Blue Grass has been won by juvenile champions Essential Quality (2021) and Good Magic (2018) and by Grade 1 winners and millionaires Vekoma (2019) and Art Collector (2020).

The early nomination deadline for the Toyota Blue Grass is Feb. 19.

“We are thrilled that the Toyota Blue Grass has been restored to Grade 1 status,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing Gatewood Bell said. “This is a goal we’ve worked toward for several years, and we couldn’t be happier for our fans, our horsemen and our sponsor, Toyota. We thank them all for their loyal support of Keeneland’s racing program, and we look forward to the Spring Meet with even more anticipation.”

Four other Keeneland stakes also received upgrades.

Two Fall Meet stakes for 3-year-olds were elevated: the Bryan Station, held at 1 mile on the grass, was promoted to Grade 3 status, while the Perryville at 7 furlongs became a Listed stakes.

Keeneland ran the Bryan Station from 1993-2009 and revived the race as a 1 1/8-mile stakes on the turf for 3-year-olds in 2015 and 2020 as part of the undercard of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships The Perryville was held from 1999-2009 at about 7 furlongs and in 2015 and 2020 was a 6-furlong event, also part of the Breeders’ Cup undercard.

Two Spring Meet stakes, the $200,000 Palisades and $200,000 TVG Limestone, were promoted to Listed status. Both stakes are for 3-year-olds at 5½ furlongs on the grass. The Palisades is scheduled for Sunday, April 10; the TVG Limestone, for fillies, will be held Friday, April 15.

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