Grade 1, $1 Million Toyota Blue Grass is April 8
Keeneland will award a season record $8.05 million for 19 stakes to be run during its 2023 Spring Meet, which will cover 15 days from April 7-28. Leading the schedule are the 99th running of the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G1) and 86th running of the $600,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1), both major targets of the nation’s top 3-year-olds. Keeneland has increased the purses of two Grade 1 stakes for older females – the Madison (G1) and the Jenny Wiley (G1) – by $100,000 apiece to $600,000 and has raised the purses of three listed stakes – the FanDuel Limestone, the Giant’s Causeway and the Palisades – by $50,000 each to $250,000. Fifteen stakes are graded, with the Beaumont (G2) Presented by Keeneland Select featuring an upgrade for 2023.
Contributing to the Spring Meet stakes purses is a total of $1.5 million available from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF), pending approval from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
“Keeneland enjoyed arguably its most successful racing year ever in 2022, thanks to a stellar lineup of equine stars and racing stables competing for record purses and the historic wagering that followed at the Spring and Fall Meets and the popularity of hosting our third Breeders’ Cup World Championships,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing Gatewood Bell said. “We are grateful for the interest in Keeneland racing from our horsemen, horseplayers and fans, and their enthusiasm creates momentum for the future. We are excited to further strengthen this year’s Spring Meet stakes schedule so purses of all Grade 1 races are at least $600,000, while all Grade 2 races are a minimum of $350,000 and all Grade 3 events are a minimum of $300,000.”
Post time for the first race each day during the Spring Meet is 1 p.m. ET. Keeneland will be closed for racing on Easter Sunday, April 9.
Spring means Keeneland
In addition to being important springtime races for talented sophomores, the Toyota Blue Grass (G1) and Central Bank Ashland (G1) both are worth 200 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Road to the Kentucky Oaks, respectively. The winners of both stakes will earn 100 qualifying points to the respective classic.
The early nomination deadline for the two races is Feb. 18. Late nominations are due March 22.
The Central Bank Ashland, at 1 1/16 miles for fillies, anchors the card for the April 7 opening day of the Spring Meet for the second consecutive year and is the richest of three stakes for sophomores that day. The other stakes, which are worth $400,000 each, are the Kentucky Utilities Transylvania (G3), a 1 1/16-mile turf race, and the Lafayette, a 7-furlong dirt race.
The following day, the Toyota Blue Grass, for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles, leads five stakes. Also on the card are the $600,000 Madison (G1), for fillies and mares at 7 furlongs; the $400,000 Appalachian (G2) Presented by Japan Racing Association, for 3-year-old fillies at 1 mile on the grass; the $350,000 Shakertown (G2), for 3-year-olds and up at 5½ furlongs on the turf; and the $300,000 Commonwealth (G3), for older horses at 7 furlongs.
With no racing Easter Sunday, the Spring Meet will resume Wednesday, April 12. Stakes action returns two days later with two turf stakes, the $600,000 Maker’s Mark Mile (G1), for 4-year-olds and up at 1 mile, and the $250,000 FanDuel Limestone, for 3-year-old fillies going 5½ furlongs.
The three stakes on Saturday, April 15 are the $600,000 Jenny Wiley (G1), a 1 1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares; the $400,000 Stonestreet Lexington (G3), for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles; and the $250,000 Giant’s Causeway, a 5½-furlong turf race for fillies and mares.
The Stonestreet Lexington, which is the final prep on this year’s Road to the Kentucky Derby, will award 40 Derby qualifying points. The winner will receive 20 points.
Because of Easter Sunday, Keeneland moved two stakes for 3-year-olds from that day to the meet’s second Sunday, April 16. They are the $400,000 Beaumont (G2) Presented by Keeneland Select, at 7 furlongs, 184 feet, on dirt for fillies; and the $250,000 Palisades, at 5½ furlongs on the grass. The Beaumont is worth 20 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks, with the winner collecting 10 points.
On the later days of the Spring Meet, Keeneland will run four graded stakes for older horses:
- Friday, April 21: $300,000 Baird Doubledogdare (G3), for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles:
- Saturday, April 22: $350,000 Elkhorn (G2), at 1½ miles on the turf, and the $300,000 Ben Ali (G3), contested at an extended distance of 1 3/16 miles on the dirt; and
- Closing day, Friday, April 28: $300,000 Bewitch (G3), for fillies and mares at 1½ miles on the turf.
Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund. All KTDF purse allotments are subject to approval of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
Since its first race meet more than 85 years ago, the Keeneland Association has devoted itself to the health and vibrancy of the Thoroughbred industry. The world’s largest Thoroughbred auction house, Keeneland conducts five sales a year, in January, April, September and November. Graduates of Keeneland sales dominate racing across the globe at every level. In April and October, Keeneland offers some of the highest caliber and richest Thoroughbred racing in the world. Keeneland hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships in 2015, 2020 and 2022. Uniquely structured, Keeneland is a privately held company with a not-for-profit mission that returns its earnings to the industry and the community in the form of higher purses and millions of dollars donated in support of horse industry initiatives and charitable contributions for education, research, and health and human services throughout Central Kentucky. Keeneland also maintains the Keeneland Library, a world-renowned public research institution with the mission of preserving information about the Thoroughbred industry. To learn more, visit Keeneland.com.
For more information contact:
Amy Gregory at 859 361-3490
Amy Owens at 859 421-2566