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Blue Grass Stakes Betting

Tips for Betting the Blue Grass

Named for the Bluegrass region of Central Kentucky, the Blue Grass Stakes has been held annually since 1937 in early April at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, KY. The race is for 3-year-olds contested at 1 1/8 miles, and since its inception, has been one of the major prep races on the road to the Kentucky Derby. The Blue Grass was a Grade 1 race for much of its time since 1974 when grading was introduced, but became a Grade II event in 2017 with a $1 million purse since 2015.

The fastest time in the Blue Grass was completed by Skip Away in 1996 in 1:47.20. In 2010, Stately Victor closed with a flurry and won by 4 ¼ lengths at odds of 40-1 to produce the largest win payoff in race history at $82.20. His 4 ¼ length victory is the second-largest since 2006 when Sinister Minister crushed the field by more than 12 lengths. The largest fields of 14 horses has happened more recently in 2013, 2014 and 2016.

From 2007 to 2014 the Blue Grass Stakes was run on a Polytrack, but in the fall of 2014 Keeneland replaced the synthetic surface for a dirt surface using locally mined material composed of sand, clay, and silt.

In the last 14 years, the race favorite has won the Blue Grass just once, and Carpe Diem did it in 2016 as the heaviest favorite over that time at 2-5 odds. The Blue Grass has produced a number of long shot winners over the past 12 years ranging from 8-1 to 40-1, and in 2017 the longest shot in the field Irap won at 31-1 for a big payoff of $64.60 on a $2 win wager.

The Polytrack synthetic surface produced five straight winners from 2010-2014 that came from far back and closed to win. Various styles of runners have won on the dirt including in the last three years, so the race offers no clear handicapping or betting angle that has paid off as it relates to style, form or recent races or track.

However, from a post position, no. 1 through 5 have produced double-digit winners while no other post has produced more than six Blue Grass winners, so closer to the inside breaking from the gate has produced far more winners than post 6 outward.

No horse has won both the Blue Grass and Kentucky Derby in more than 25 years, but nine have won both races and the four most recent are: Strike the Gold (1991), Spectacular Bid (1979), Riva Ridge (1972) and Dust Commander (1970). Another 10 horses who ran in the race have won the Kentucky Derby with Street Sense (2nd) the most recent in 2007. Palace Malace finished 2nd in the Blue Grass in 2013 and is the most recent Triple Crown winner having won the Belmont Stakes.  

2017Irap 31-1$64.601:50.39Track/stalking3rd
2016Brody’s Cause4-1$10.401:50.20Closer, far back12th
2015Carpe Diem  2-5$2.801:49.77Presser, stalking1st
2014Dance With Fate6-1$14.801:50.06Closer, far back12th
2013Java’s War4-1$11.201:50.27Closer, far back4th
2012Dullahan3-1$8.401:47.94Closer, far back2nd
2011Brilliant Speed19-1$40.201:50.92Closer, far back9th
2010Stately Victor40-1$82.201:48.69Closer, off pace4th
2009General Quarters14-1$30.601:49.26Stalking2nd
2006Sinister Minister8-1$19.401:48.85Front4th

More on Betting the Blue Grass Stakes

The $1 million Blue Grass Stakes highlights a blockbuster racing program that features several other major stakes at Keeneland Race Course.

One of the nation’s boutique meets, Keenenald’s three-week spring session is appealing to horse players and Blue Grass Day, with its large handle and quality product, is the focal point.

The Blue Grass is often highly-contentious and has produced 23 Kentucky Derby winners, more than any other race. As a final major prep in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series, the top four finishers receive points on a 100-40-20-10 scale toward a Kentucky Derby berth four weeks later.

The Blue Grass will also revert back to dirt for the first time since 2006 following an eight-year Polytrack experiment at Keeneland. is the site to play the Blue Grass. Sign-up is free, with no subscription fees, and account holders can receive free Past Performances when wagering online.