Blue Grass Stakes

Road to the Kentucky Derby > Blue Grass Stakes

Blue Grass Stakes Race Facts

  • Location: Keeneland Race Course - Lexington, KY
  • Inaugural Race: 1911
  • Distance: 1 & 1/8 miles (9 furlongs)
  • Track Type: Left-handed, Dirt
  • Age Qualifications: Three-year-olds
  • 2024 Purse: $1,000,000
  • 2024 Race Date: Saturday, April 6th

The Blue Grass Stakes is Keenland's premier prep race in the Road to the Kentucky Derby. Held each year in April, winners of the contest are awarded 100–50-25-15–10 points

2023 Blue Grass Stakes Results

Tapit Trice
Luis Saez / Todd A. Pletcher
$5.28 / $3.12 / $2.64
Tyler Gaffalione / Brad H. Cox
$3.70 / $2.92
Blazing Sevens
Irad Ortiz, Jr. / Chad C. Brown
Sun Thunder
Florent Geroux / Kenneth G. McPeek
Raise Cain
Joel Rosario / Ben Colebrook
Mendelssohns March
Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr. / Kenneth G. McPeek
Hayes Strike
James Graham / Kenneth G. McPeek
Classic Car Wash
Javier Castellano / Mark E. Casse
Scoobie Quando
Luan Machado / Ben Colebrook
Major Blue
David Cabrera / D. Wayne Lukas

Exotic Payoffs:

  • $1.00 Exacta (1-3) Paid: $8.77
  • $0.50 Trifecta (1-3-8) Paid: $21.91
  • $0.10 Superfecta (1-3-8-7) Paid: $22.32

Watch the 2023 Blue Grass Stakes

History of the Blue Grass Stakes

Named after the famous region that shares the same name, the Blue Grass Stakes have run since 1911. Going back to its earliest days, this special contest has served as an important prep race for the Kentucky Derby and currently offers a split of 100-40-30-20-10 points to the top five finishers along with a share of the $1,000,000 purse. This race has always covered a distance of 1 1/8th miles.

The race was initially run at the Kentucky Association track from 1911 through 1914 and 1919 through 1926. When that track closed its doors, it took a decade before the race could be resurrected at the newly constructed Keeneland Racetrack. It has been hosted by this site ever since.

The speed record is currently owned by Skip Away, who won the 1996 edition in 1:47.20. Only a few other horses recently have come close to matching that pace. Chief's Crown posted an impressive 1:47.60 in 1985, while Dullahan was clocked at 1:47.94 in 2012 and Hallory Hunter hit 1:47.80 in 1998.

With a victory in 2023, Todd Pletcher captured the record for most wins by a trainer, pulling away from a field that includes Ben Jones, Woody Stephens, LeRoy Jolley, and Nick Zito (who are all tied with 3 wins). The winningest jockey is the legendary Hall of Famer Bill Shoemaker, who has tallied six victories in the race.

Alydar owns the widest margin of victory with 13 lengths during the 1978 edition.

The largest upset in the history of the race occurred in 2010 when Stately Victor returned $82.20 as a 30/1 longshot over the favorite Pleasant Prince, who finished 7th overall. Paddy o’Prado was the runner-up in that renewal.

Other notable horses to have scored in the race include leading sire Pulpit, 1994 Horse of the Year Holy Bull and Hall of Fame champion Norther Dancer. Major Derby, who won the 1975 Preakness Stakes, also won the Blue Grass Stakes.

In 1974, the Blue Grass Stakes was introduced as a Grade I stakes race and held that standard up until 1990 when it was relegated to Grade II. In 1999 it regained its Grade I status, but was again downgraded to Grade II stakes race in 2017. In 2022, the race returned to Grade I status.

From 2007-2014, the race was run on a synthetic surface.

Blue Grass Stakes Past Winners

Jockey / Trainer
Dist. (Miles) / Time
Tapit Trice
Luis Saez / Todd A. Pletcher
1-​1⁄8 / 1:50.00
Flavien Prat / Chad C. Brown
1-​1⁄8 / 1:50.35
Essential Quality
Luis Saez / Brad Cox
1-​1⁄8 / 1:48.50
Art Collector
Brian Hernandez Jr. / Thomas Drury Jr.
1-​1⁄8 / 1:48.11
Javier Castellano / George Weaver
1-​1⁄8 / 1:50.93
Good Magic
José Ortiz / Chad Brown
1-​1⁄8 / 1:50.18
Julien Leparoux / Doug O'Neill
1-​1⁄8 / 1:50.39
Brody's Cause
Luis Saez / Dale L. Romans
1-​1⁄8 / 1:50.20
Carpe Diem
John Velazquez / Todd Pletcher
1-​1⁄8 / 1:49.77
Dance With Fate
Corey S. Nakatani / Peter Eurton
1-​1⁄8 / 1:50.06