Meet the Contenders: 2023 Blue Grass Stakes

April 6th, 2023

Meet the horses running in the 2023 Blue Grass (G1) over 1 1/8 miles at Keeneland. For each horse, we're listing a pro, a con, and a rating of potential. The star rating of 1 to 5 represents opportunity to perform well in the Blue Grass field.

#1 TAPIT TRICE *****

Tapit Trice wins the Tampa Bay Derby (Photo by SV Photography)

Pro: Unleashed a big homestretch rally to win the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) last month.

Con: Slow-starting colt risks running into traffic trouble in this large field.


Clear the Air wins maiden at Turfway Park (Photo by Coady Photography)

Pro: Picked up Kentucky Derby qualification points when finishing fifth in the Gotham (G3).

Con: His career-best 86 Brisnet Speed rating looks a little light.

#3 VERIFYING *****

Verifying wins at Oaklawn Park Jan. 14, 2023. (Photo by Coady Photography/Oaklawn Park)

Pro: Finished second in the Champagne (G1) as a juvenile and has the pedigree to improve with maturity. He also has the speed to sit a favorable trip in this largely paceless field.

Con: Disappointed as the favorite in the Rebel (G2) last month, finishing fourth with a slightly troubled trip.


Classic Car Wash wins at Gulfstream Park (Photo by Ryan Thompson/Coglianese Photos)

Pro: Rallied to finish second in the Tampa Bay Derby, earning a career-best 93 Brisnet Speed rating.

Con: He couldn’t outkick Tapit Trice down the Tampa Bay Derby homestretch and needs improvement to turn the tables.


Hayes Strike wins maiden at Ellis Park (Photo by Coady Photography)

Pro: Closed nicely from midfield to win the Private Terms S. at Laurel Park last month.

Con: He’s been defeated in all three of his Road to the Kentucky Derby appearances.


Scoobie Quando wins the Turfway Prevue Stakes (Photo by Coady Photography)

Pro: Ran into traffic trouble before rallying to finish second in the John Battaglia Memorial S.

Con: He’s never run on dirt, competing exclusively over Tapeta thus far.


Sun Thunder wins at Oaklawn Park (Photo by Coady Photography)

Pro: Finished second in the Risen Star (G2) behind next-out Arkansas Derby (G1) winner Angel of Empire.

Con: He’s a deep closer who benefited from a quick pace in the Risen Star.


Blazing Sevens captures the Champagne (Photo by Coglianese Photos)

Pro: Charged from last place to dominate the Champagne by 3 1/4 lengths at age two.

Con: Faltered in his 2023 debut, finishing eighth by a wide margin in the Fountain of Youth (G2).


Major Blue wins at Oaklawn Park (Photo by Coady Photography)

Pro: Speedy colt has won two straight races at Oaklawn Park.

Con: He’s never run in a stakes and is stepping up significantly in class for the Blue Grass.

#10 RAISE CAIN ***

Raise Cain winning the Gotham (G3) at Aqueduct (Photo by Jessie Holmes/EquiSport Photos)

Pro: Unleashed a giant homestretch surge to dominate the Gotham by 7 1/2 lengths.

Con: Benefited from a hot pace in the Gotham and might not receive as favorable a setup on Saturday.


Mendelssohns March wins at Oaklawn Park (Photo by Coady Photography)

Pro: Versatile colt won his debut on turf by setting the pace, then rallied to win an allowance optional claimer on dirt.

Con: His career-best 86 Brisnet Speed rating ranks on the low side in the Blue Grass field.