Tipsheet: 2023 Blue Grass Stakes

April 6th, 2023

An excellent field of 11 three-year-olds will travel 1 1/8 miles on the Keeneland main surface in Saturday’s $1 million Blue Grass Stakes (G1). The 2023 Road to the Kentucky Derby challenge series event will reward the top-five finishers with qualifying points on a 100-40-30-20-10 basis.

Blue Grass Stakes Picks

  • #3 Verifying
  • #1 Tapit Trice
  • #7 Sun Thunder
  • #4 Classic Car Wash

Blue Grass Stakes Wagers

  • $30 win: #3 Verifying
  • $10 exacta: box 1-3
  • $1 superfecta: 1, 3 with 1, 3 with 4, 7 with all

Blue Grass Stakes Contenders

#1 TAPIT TRICE (5-2): The surging Todd Pletcher pupil ran clear late in the recent Tampa Bay Derby (G3) and looks like a serious Triple Crown contender. The $1.3 million yearling purchase posted a pair of solid half-mile drills in advance of Saturday, and will appreciate the expected ground-saving voyage. Luis Saez retains the ride.

#2 CLEAR THE AIR (30-1): This Ransom the Moon sophomore has shown little from a pair of career assignments on dirt and looks overmatched in this fine field. Confirmed as running here rather than the Wood Memorial (G2) for which he was also entered.

#3 VERIFYING (3-1): My top pick ran evenly when fourth over a sloppy, sealed surface in the Rebel S. (G2) most recently but looks to be sitting on a big performance. The talented Justify colt from the Brad Cox barn was a fine allowance victor in his seasonal debut two prior, and the $775,000 purchase should be peaking in his third try of 2023. Tyler Gaffalione picks up the mount.

#4 CLASSIC CAR WASH (12-1): The consistently good Casse trainee comes off of a pair of graded placings at Tampa Bay Downs and merits respect. The son of Noble Bird was a clear runner-up to Tapit Trice last out, and any improvement would give him a sure top-three chance under the guidance of Javier Castellano.

#5 HAYES STRIKE (15-1): The first of three from the Ken McPeek shedrow ran his best race to date when annexing the Private Terms S. in his latest engagement. The capable son of Connect owns a nice turn of foot, and if the pace falls apart, then he becomes an interesting contender at a nice price. James Graham will be in the controls.

#6 SCOOBIE QUANDO (15-1): This stakes-winning Uncle Mo colt has never been worse than second in his three-race career and will try dirt for the first time. The Ben Colebrook trainee is bred to love the trip, and he can be an exotics contender if he takes to the ground in his local debut. Regular pilot Luan Machado will be up.

#7 SUN THUNDER (10-1): The Risen Star S. (G2) runner-up ran evenly behind a soft pace in the Louisiana Derby (G2) and rates a big chance in this spot with Florent Geroux taking the reins. The $400,000 Into Mischief colt comes back quickly, which I view as a positive, and he will be doing his best work inside the final furlong on Saturday.

#8 BLAZING SEVENS (6-1): The Champagne S. (G1) hero showed little in his seasonal debut when finishing well back in the Fountain of Youth S. (G2), but the talented son of Good Magic can take a big step forward in his second run of the campaign. The Chad Brown pupil will run with blinkers for the first time, and he will also have Irad Ortiz in the stirrups. Victory wouldn’t be a major surprise.

#9 MAJOR BLUE (30-1): The Flatter colt has won two races in succession, including an allowance dash most recently, but he looks to be in deep while making his stakes bow. David Cabrera will guide the bay.

#10 RAISE CAIN (9-2): The second runner from the Colebrook barn romped over a muddy surface in the Gotham S. (G3) in preparation for this tough assignment. The interesting son of Violence is not the most consistent colt in the cast, but he has obvious ability and could make the frame with slight improvement beneath Joel Rosario.

#11 MENDELSSOHNS MARCH (20-1): The McPeek trainee toppled allowance runners in strong fashion in his second career run at Oaklawn Park in his latest showing, but he faces a huge task from the outside post in the tilt. He appears to be training well leading up to Saturday, but others seem more likely. Brian Hernandez, Jr. will take the reins.