A field of 13 sophomores will take aim at the top prize in Saturday’s $600,000 Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland. The 2020 Road to the Kentucky Derby series event will reward the top four finishers with points on a 100-40-20-10 basis toward an entry in the Run for the Roses on September 5.
Blue Grass Analysis
#1 Shivaree is swift from the gate and will be sent from the rail. The trio of #7 Swiss Skydiver, #8 Basin, and #10 Rushie will track the pacesetter to ensure an honest early tempo.
Blue Grass Contenders
#1 SHIVAREE (8-1) — Nicks trainee followed up his Florida Derby (G1) second with a game allowance try while dueling throughout at Gulfstream most recently. Awesome of Course colt is expected to take the field into the first turn under John Velazquez, and he could be dangerous late if he establishes moderate splits.
#2 FINNICK THE FIERCE (12-1) — Arkansas Derby (G1) third was outrun in the lane in a ‘key’ allowance tilt at Churchill Downs most recently. Gelded son of Dialed In has proven capable at this level in the past, and he possesses the positional speed to stay in touch with the field early as well. Jose Ortiz inherits the mount.
#3 ART COLLECTOR (5-1) –– Drury pupil exits a lifetime best when dominating an allowance field beneath the Twin Spires. Kentucky-bred has been sharp in a pair of victories since joining this barn, winning one from off the pace and the other in wire-to-wire fashion. Brian Hernandez will guide the Bernardini colt.
#4 MR. BIG NEWS (10-1) –– Oaklawn S. victor has improved his Brisnet Speed figure in every lifetime outing for Calhoun. Bay son of Giant’s Causeway comes in fresh with a long string of morning moves, and he has to be considered a win contender from off the pace with Murrill picking up the ride.
#5 MAN IN THE CAN (10-1) — Steadily improving Arkansas-bred is 4-for-5 lifetime and has moved forward since stretching out to two turns. Colt was impressive in a recent triumph going 9 panels at Churchill Downs for Moquett, and improvement makes him a serious top-three candidate beneath Gaffalione.
#6 HARD LIGHTING (50-1) — Outsider captured an off-the-turf maiden race at Gulfstream two back, prior to finishing unplaced in allowance try last out. Delgado trainee would be a surprise at huge odds.
#7 SWISS SKYDIVER (3-1) –– Standout filly has rolled home to three facile graded stakes scores in succession for McPeek in advance of her first try with the boys. Daredevil chestnut is in a peak form cycle and seems poised to handle the added ground on Saturday as well. Mike Smith retains the mount atop the classy lass.
#8 BASIN (8-1) — Asmussen trainee has run mostly evenly in each of his three stakes races this campaign and could be sitting on a breakout performance in the Blue Grass. Grade 1 star has a versatile running style, and I like that he got a pair of nice morning drills over the surface in preparation for his local bow.
#9 ATTACHMENT RATE (20-1) — Matt Winn (G3) fourth has been consistent from five 2020 assignments for Romans. Hard Spun chestnut is better than his latest, and he could be a great value horse for the gimmicks if he steps forward on Saturday. Luis Saez riding aids his chances.
#10 RUSHIE (5-1) — California invader comes off a smart third-place effort behind two standouts in the Santa Anita Derby (G1). Florida-bred son of Liam’s Map makes a lot of sense in his first run on the oval with Javier Castellano in the controls.
#11 HUNT THE FRONT (30-1) — Zito charge showed little in his first try with winners most recently, and he needs a major step forward to be a threat in his graded stakes debut under Corey Lanerie.
#12 ENFORCEABLE (10-1) — Mark Casse trainee is Grade 1-placed at Keeneland and brings some class to the table while exiting five straight graded tilts. Strong late runner shows a string of sharp early drills leading up to the Blue Grass, and he could be moving best of all late with his best effort beneath Rosario.
#13 TIESTO (15-1) — $600,000 son of Tiznow is the wildcard in the cast making his dirt debut for Mott. Capable colt gets a tough draw while widest of all, however, and I prefer to watch one on the main oval before backing him.
Blue Grass Wagers
- $2 Exacta Key Box: 12 with 3,4,7,8,10 ($20)
- 50-cent Trifecta Key: 12 with 3,4,7,8,10 with all ($27.50)