Blue Grass Stakes

Road to the Kentucky Derby > Blue Grass Stakes

Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland

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
  • 2021 Purse: $800,000
  • 2021 Race Date: Saturday, April 3rd

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 100–40–20–10 points

2021 Blue Grass Stakes Results

POSTHORSEJOCKEY / TRAINERWIN / PLACE / SHOW
4Essential QualityLuis Saez / Brad H. Cox$3.00 / $2.20 / $2.10
3Highly MotivatedJavier Castellano / Chad C. Brown$3.40 / $2.80
5RombauerFlorent Geroux / Michael W. McCarthy$5.40
1Hidden StashRafael Bejarano / Victoria H. Oliver
9KeepmeinmindDavid Cohen / Robertino Diodoro
8Sittin On GoCorey J. Lanerie / Dale L. Romans
7Hush of a StormSantiago Gonzalez / William E. Morey
2UntreatedJoel Rosario / Todd A. Pletcher
6LeblonAlbin Jimenez / Paulo H. Lobo

Exotic Payoffs:

  • $2.00 Exacta (4-3) Paid: $3.70
  • $0.50 Trifecta (4-3-5) Paid: $11.50
  • $0.10 Superfecta (4-3-5-1) Paid: $7.56

Watch the 2021 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 100-40-20-10 points to the top four finishers along with a share of the $800,000 purse. This race has always covered a distance of 1 1/8th miles.

The Blue Grass Stakes 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 Blue Grass Stakes 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  Blue Grass Stakes in 1:47.20. Only two 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.

Five trainers currently share the distinction of most wins in the Blue Grass Stakes at 3 each. This includes Ben Jones, Woody Stephens, LeRoy Jolley, Nick Zito and Todd Pletcher. The winningest jockey is the legendary Hall of Famer Bill Shoemaker, who has tallied six victories in the Blue Grass Stakes.

Alydar owns the widest margin of victory with 13 lengths during the 1978 Blue Grass Stakes.

The largest upset in the history of the Blue Grass Stakes 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 Blue Grass Stakes 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 has since run as a Grade II stakes race since 2017.

From 2007-2014, the Blue Grass Stakes was run on a synthetic surface.

Blue Grass Stakes Past Winners

YearWinnerJockey / TrainerDist.
(Miles) / Time
2021Essential QualityLuis Saez / Brad Cox1-​1⁄8 / 1:48.50
2020Art CollectorBrian Hernandez Jr. / Thomas Drury Jr.1-​1⁄8 / 1:48.11
2019VekomaJavier Castellano / George Weaver1-​1⁄8 / 1:50.93
2018Good MagicJosé Ortiz / Chad Brown1-​1⁄8 / 1:50.18
2017IrapJulien Leparoux / Doug O'Neill1-​1⁄8 / 1:50.39
2016Brody's CauseLuis Saez / Dale L. Romans1-​1⁄8 / 1:50.20
2015Carpe DiemJohn Velazquez / Todd Pletcher1-​1⁄8 / 1:49.77
2014Dance With FateCorey S. Nakatani / Peter Eurton1-​1⁄8 / 1:50.06
2013Java's WarJulien Leparoux / Kenneth G. McPeek1-​1⁄8 / 1:50.27
2012DullahanKent Desormeaux / Dale Romans1-​1⁄8 / 1:47.94
2011Brilliant SpeedJoel Rosario / Thomas Albertrani1-​1⁄8 / 1:50.92
2010Stately VictorAlan Garcia / Michael J. Maker1-​1⁄8 / 1:48.69
2009General QuartersEibar Coa / Thomas R. McCarthy1-​1⁄8 / 1:49.26
2008MonbaEdgar Prado / Todd A. Pletcher1-​1⁄8 / 1:49.71
2007DominicanRafael Bejarano / Darrin Miller1-​1⁄8 / 1:51.33
2006Sinister MinisterGarrett Gomez / Bob Baffert1-​1⁄8 / 1:48.85
2005BandiniJohn R. Velazquez / Todd A. Pletcher1-​1⁄8 / 1:48.85
2004The Cliff's EdgeShane Sellers / Nick Zito1-​1⁄8 / 1:49.42
2003Peace RulesEdgar Prado / Robert J. Frankel1-​1⁄8 / 1:51.73
2002Harlan's HolidayEdgar Prado / Ken McPeek1-​1⁄8 / 1:51.51
2001Millennium WindLaffit Pincay Jr. / David Hofmans1-​1⁄8 / 1:48.32
2000High YieldPat Day / D. Wayne Lukas1-​1⁄8 / 1:48.60
1999MenifeePat Day / W. Elliott Walden1-​1⁄8 / 1:48.60
1998Halory HunterGary Stevens / Nick Zito1-​1⁄8 / 1:47.80
1997PulpitShane Sellers / Frank L. Brothers1-​1⁄8 / 1:49.80
1996Skip AwayShane Sellers / Sonny Hine1-​1⁄8 / 1:47.20
1995Wild SynRandy Romero / Thomas K. Arnemann1-​1⁄8 / 1:49.20
1994Holy BullMike E. Smith / Warren A. Croll Jr.1-​1⁄8 / 1:50.00
1993Prairie BayouMike E. Smith / Tom Bohannan1-​1⁄8 / 1:49.60
1992Pistols and RosesJacinto Vásquez / George Gianos1-​1⁄8 / 1:49.00
1991Strike the GoldChris Antley / Nick Zito1-​1⁄8 / 1:48.40
1990Summer SquallPat Day / Neil J. Howard1-​1⁄8 / 1:48.60
1989Western PlayboyRandy Romero / Harvey L. Vanier1-​1⁄8 / 1:51.20
1988GranacusJacinto Vásquez / Pat Collins1-​1⁄8 / 1:52.20
1987WarHerb McCauley / D. Wayne Lukas1-​1⁄8 / 1:48.40
1986Bachelor BeauLarry Melancon / Philip Hauswald1-​1⁄8 / 1:51.20
1985Chief's CrownDon MacBeth / Roger Laurin1-​1⁄8 / 1:47.60
1984Taylor's SpecialPat Day / William I. Mott1-​1⁄8 / 1:52.20
1983Play FellowJean Cruguet / Harvey L. Vanier1-​1⁄8 / 1:49.40
1982LinkageBill Shoemaker / Henry S. Clark1-​1⁄8 / 1:48.00
1981Proud AppealJeffrey Fell / Stanley M. Hough1-​1⁄8 / 1:51.40
1980Rockhill NativeJohn Oldham / Herbert K. Stevens1-​1⁄8 / 1:50.00
1979Spectacular BidRonnie Franklin / Bud Delp1-​1⁄8 / 1:50.00
1978AlydarJorge Velásquez / John M. Veitch1-​1⁄8 / 1:49.60
1977For the MomentÁngel Cordero Jr. / LeRoy Jolley1-​1⁄8 / 1:50.20
1976Honest PleasureBraulio Baeza / LeRoy Jolley1-​1⁄8 / 1:49.40
1975Master DerbyDarrel McHargue / Smiley Adams1-​1⁄8 / 1:49.00
1974JudgerLaffit Pincay, Jr. / Woody Stephens1-​1⁄8 / 1:49.20
1973My GallantÁngel Cordero Jr. / Lou Goldfine1-​1⁄8 / 1:49.60
1972Riva RidgeRon Turcotte / Lucien Laurin1-​1⁄8 / 1:49.60
1971ImpetuosityEric Guerin / George Poole1-​1⁄8 / 1:49.40
1970Dust CommanderMike Manganello / Don Combs1-​1⁄8 / 1:51.20
1969Arts and LettersBill Shoemaker / J. Elliott Burch1-​1⁄8 / 1:47.80
1968Forward PassIsmael Valenzuela / Henry Forrest1-​1⁄8 / 1:47.80
1967Diplomat WayJohnny Sellers / John O. Meaux1-​1⁄8 / 1:49.60
1966Abe's HopeBill Shoemaker / Del W. Carroll1-​1⁄8 / 1:49.20
1965Lucky DebonairBill Shoemaker / Frank Catrone1-​1⁄8 / 1:49.00
1964Northern DancerBill Hartack / Horatio Luro1-​1⁄8 / 1:49.80
1963ChateaugayBraulio Baeza / James P. Conway1-​1⁄8 / 1:48.00
1962RidanManuel Ycaza / LeRoy Jolley1-​1⁄8 / 1:47.60
1961SherluckBraulio Baeza / Harold Young1-​1⁄8 / 1:48.60
1960TompionBill Shoemaker / Robert L. Wheeler1-​1⁄8 / 1:48.60
1959Tomy LeeBill Shoemaker / Frank Childs1-​1⁄8 / 1:48.60
1958PlionDavid Erb / Tom Jolley1-​1⁄8 / 1:52.80
1957Round TableRalph Neves / William Molter1-​1⁄8 / 1:47.40
1956Toby B.Robert L. Baird / Robert E. Wingfield1-​1⁄8 / 1:51.00
1955Racing FoolHenry Moreno / Loyd Gentry Jr.1-​1⁄8 / 1:51.80
1954GoyamoEddie Arcaro / Woody Stephens1-​1⁄8 / 1:50.60
1953CorrespondentEddie Arcaro / Wally Dunn1-​1⁄8 / 1:49.00
1952Güshing OilSteve Brooks / Whitey Jansen1-​1⁄8 / 1:52.40
1951RuheJob Dean Jessop / Robert McGarvey1-​1⁄8 / 1:54.20
1951MamelukeRaymond Adair / Sylvester Veitch1-​1⁄8 / 1:54.40
1950Mr. TroubleDouglas Dodson / Sylvester Veitch1-​1⁄8 / 1:50.40
1949HaltConn McCreary / Woody Stephens1-​1⁄8 / 1:52.60
1948CoaltownNewbold L. Pierson / Ben A. Jones1-​1⁄8 / 1:49.20
1947FaultlessDouglas Dodson / Ben A. Jones1-​1⁄8 / 1:51.20
1946Lord BoswellEddie Arcaro / James W. Smith1-​1⁄8 / 1:51.60
1945Darby DieppeMelvin Calvert / Charles Gentry1-​1⁄8 / 1:53.40
1944SkytracerMike Cafferella / Frank J. Baker1-​1⁄8 / 1:52.60
1943Ocean WaveWendell Eads / Ben A. Jones1-​1⁄8 / 1:53.80
1942Shut OutEddie Arcaro / John M. Gaver Sr.1-​1⁄8 / 1:52.40
1941Our BootsConn McCreary / Steve Judge1-​1⁄8 / 1:51.20
1940BimelechFred A. Smith / Bill Hurley1-​1⁄8 / 1:51.00
1939Heather BroomBasil James / Earl Sande1-​1⁄8 / 1:54.20
1938Bull LeaIrving Anderson / Frank J. Kearns1-​1⁄8 / 1:49.60
1937FencingJack Westrope / Earl Sande1-​1⁄8 / 1:57.20