145 Nominated To April 7 Blue Grass; Pletcher Leads With 15

eFive Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables’ champion Good Magic and Calumet Farm’s recent Risen Star Presented by Lamarque Ford (G2) winner Bravazo are among 17 of the 20 leading point earners on the Road to the Kentucky Derby (G1) who are nominated to the 94th running of the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G2) on April 7, opening Saturday of Keeneland’s 2018 Spring Meet.

A complete list of the 145 Toyota Blue Grass nominees and their past performances can be found at Keeneland.com/horsemen. Post positions for the Toyota Blue Grass will be drawn Tuesday, April 3.

One of the nation’s richest prep races for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) on May 5 at Churchill Downs, the 1 1/8-mile Toyota Blue Grass awards the winner 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. The second-, third- and fourth-place finishers receive 40 points, 20 points and 10 points, respectively.

Post time for the Toyota Blue Grass, the 10th race on April 7, is 6:23 p.m. ET. That day, Keeneland will offer a $400,000-guaranteed All-Stakes Pick Four and a $300,000-guaranteed All Stakes Pick Five.

NBC Sports Network will provide live coverage of the Toyota Blue Grass, along with the Wood Memorial (G2) from Aqueduct and Santa Anita Derby (G1), from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

“Keeneland is excited by the number of talented 3-year-olds who are nominated to the Toyota Blue Grass and represent leading trainers across North America,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston said. “The Toyota Blue Grass is the centerpiece of opening Saturday of the Spring Meet, the biggest racing day of the year at Keeneland.”

The Toyota Blue Grass and $500,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1), a major prep race for the Kentucky Oaks (G1), anchor a blockbuster 11-race card April 7 with five stakes worth $2.25 million. Other stakes are the $300,000 Madison (G1) for fillies and mares at 7 furlongs on the dirt; $200,000 Shakertown (G2) for 3-year-olds and up at 5½ furlongs on the turf; and $250,000 Commonwealth (G3) for older horses at 7 furlongs on the dirt.

Good Magic, purchased for $1 million at Keeneland’s 2016 September Yearling Sale, won the 2017 Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and received the Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old male. Trained by Chad Brown, the Curlin colt is scheduled to make his 3-year-old debut in Saturday’s Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park.

With 24 points, Good Magic is second on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard behind Bravazo, who has earned 54 points. During Keeneland’s 2017 Fall Meet, Bravazo finished second in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) to another Toyota Blue Grass nominee, Albaugh Family Stables’ Free Drop Billy.

The 3-year-old males ranked third through ninth on the Road to the Kentucky Derby also are nominated to the Toyota Blue Grass: Mr. Amore Stable’s Champagne (G1), Sanford (G3) and Jerome winner Firenze Fire; Bloom Racing Stable’s stakes winner Snapper Sinclair; Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman’s undefeated Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity (G1) and Sham (G3) winner McKinzie; OXO Equine’s Lecomte (G3) winner Instilled Regard; Ruis Racing’s Del Mar Futurity (G1) and FrontRunner (G1) winner Bolt d’Oro; Free Drop Billy; and Zayat Stables’ Solomini, second to Good Magic in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Other leading Kentucky Derby contenders nominated to the Toyota Blue Grass are Godolphin Racing’s Nashua (G2) and Withers (G3) winner Avery Island and Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) winner Enticed; Don’t Tell My Wife Stables and Monomoy Stables’ Southwest (G3) and Zuma Beach Stakes winner My Boy Jack; Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton Racing’s Southwest runner-up Combatant; Phoenix Thoroughbred III’s Smarty Jones Stakes winner Mourinho; John C. Oxley’s Sam F. Davis (G3), Dixiana Bourbon (G3) and Skidmore Stakes winner Flameaway; WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International and SF Racing’s Holy Bull (G2) winner Audible;  Michael V. Lombardi’s Robert B. Lewis (G3) winner Lombo; and WinStar Farm and Repole Stable’s Noble Indy, third in the Risen Star.

Multiple Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher, who conditions Audible and Noble Indy, leads all trainers by number of nominees to the Toyota Blue Grass with 15. Pletcher has won the Toyota Blue Grass three times with Bandini (2005), Monba (2008) and Carpe Diem (2015).

Other prominent trainers represented by multiple nominees include Hall of Famers Steve Asmussen (12 nominees) and Bob Baffert (12 nominees), along with Dale Romans (11 nominees), Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas (seven nominees) and Doug O’Neill (six nominees). O’Neill won the Toyota Blue Grass last year with Irap.

Other noted trainers with horses nominated to the Toyota Blue Grass are Hall of Famers Richard Mandella and Bill Mott; Mark Casse, Brad Cox, Keith Desormeaux, Peter Eurton, Jerry Hollendorfer, Kenny McPeek, Kiaran McLaughlin and Graham Motion.

The late nomination period for the Toyota Blue Grass closes Wednesday, March 21.

Keeneland’s 16-day Spring Meet opens Friday, April 6, and concludes Friday, April 27, with racing Wednesday through Sunday. Post time for the first race each day is 1:05 p.m.

The post 145 Nominated To April 7 Blue Grass; Pletcher Leads With 15 appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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