The $600,000 Blue Grass Stakes (G2) will be run Saturday as race 9 at Keeneland. The 1 1/8-mile race is for 3-year-olds and is part of the 2020 Road to the Kentucky Derby series with 100-40-20-10 points going to the top four finishers. Kicking off the second half of the year, it drew a bulky field of 13. Ken McPeek was expected to cross-enter his multiple graded-stakes winning filly Swiss Skydiver in the Ashland (G1) but she only shows up here while in receipt of five pounds.
Top Picks for the Blue Grass
- #3 Art Collector
- #7 Swiss Skydiver
- #10 Rushie
- #11 Hunt the Front
Betting the Blue Grass
- $20 win – 3
- $10 exacta – 7,10,11 with 3
Blue Grass Contenders
#1 Shivaree just missed going 6 furlongs in a stakes race at Gulfstream Park, but he bounced back strong with a second behind Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Tiz the Law in the Florida Derby (G1). Off for 11 weeks, he ran well in a fast one-turn mile behind a graded stakes winner and now moves back up in class while saving ground from post one with Johnny Velazquez.
#2 Finnick the Fierce is still eligible for a first-level allowance race but was a decent third in a division of the Arkansas Derby (G1). Last out, he tired going two turns at Churchill Downs against allowance foes and he shows a fastest of 90 half-mile workout here last Saturday.
#3 Art Collector moves up in class looking for his third straight win on the main track. He dominated his last start against a small field but he closed into a slow pace and his speed rating puts him in the mix here. Son of Bernardini makes his third start off the long layoff with Brian Hernandez Jr. back aboard.
#4 Mr. Big News broke his maiden by a nose at Fair Grounds, but after failing in his stakes debut he came back with a good win on a sloppy track at Oaklawn Park against stakes foes when he rallied from way back.
#5 Man in the Can showed he was more than an Arkansas-bred last out at Churchill Downs when he was a sharp allowance winner going this distance. He has shown gate speed on occasion and has a good workout over the track.
#6 Hard Lighting only broke his maiden two starts back in an off-the-turf event going a one-turn mile at Gulfstream Park and this looks to be too tough for him.
#7 Swiss Skydiver takes on the boys after winning three straight graded stakes race on three different main tracks. She gets five pounds from the field and Mike Smith is back aboard – 33% with his route mounts this year. She has strong early speed and I expect Smith to put her on the lead and dare the field to run her down.
#8 Basin won the Hopeful (G1) last year at Saratoga and not much since. He was a distant second behind Charlatan in a division of the Arkansas Derby and I don’t see his two-turn form being strong enough.
#9 Attachment Rate broke his maiden on a sloppy track at Gulfstream Park then ran evenly in his next three starts against stakes foes. He needs to break well and get involved early since it looks like the son of Hard Spun is kind of one-paced.
#10 Rushie has already faced Charlatan and Honor A. P. already in his short career. His third in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) was probably good enough to win this but he has to overcome post 10. Javier Castellano picks up the mount.
# 11 Hunt the Front was emerging as a threatening sophomore colt until his last start at Churchill Downs where he ran poorly. Before that at Oaklawn Park, he beat subsequent Ohio Derby (G3) winner Dean Martini on a sloppy track then came back and won going away in fast time. He’ll be far back early and won’t start picking up horses until the backstretch.
#12 Enforceable won a Grade 3 stakes at the Fair Grounds then raced evenly there in his last two starts. Off for 112 days, the son of Tapit is a half- or full brother to three graded stakes winners and is training bullets for Mark Casse.
#13 Tiesto makes his main track debut off four turf races that were rather slow. We have seen this before from Bill Mott but he looks overmatched in here.