Keeneland’s 100th Running of the $1 Million Toyota Blue Grass Draws Leading Horses among 108 Nominees

Keeneland’s $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G1), an iconic springtime fixture for 3-year-olds, will be especially meaningful when it is run April 6 on opening Saturday of the Spring Meet. The renewal marks the 100th running of the 1 1/8-mile race, which has attracted 108 nominees led by champion Fierceness and Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) winner Locked – both trained by four-time winner Todd Pletcher – and Sierra Leone, winner of last Saturday’s Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds for two-time winning trainer Chad Brown.

Click here for the list of the Toyota Blue Grass nominees; click here for their past performances.

“This is an exciting time at Keeneland with the major construction project underway to build for our future,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing Gatewood Bell said, “so it is fitting that we also are holding the 100th running of our most famous race and recognizing our history. We thank the owners and trainers who have nominated a quality group of 3-year-olds to the Blue Grass, which has produced a long list of horses who won major races and became important stallions.”

On April 6, the Toyota Blue Grass is one of five graded stakes worth a combined $2.65 million to be run on Keeneland’s 11-race card, which has a first post time of 1 p.m. ET. Other stakes that day are the 23rd running of the $600,000 Madison (G1) for fillies and mares going 7 furlongs on the dirt; the 36th running of the $400,000 Appalachian (G2) Presented by Japan Racing Association for 3-year-old fillies racing 1 mile on the turf; the 28th running of the $350,000 Shakertown (G2) for 3-year-olds and up at 5½ furlongs on the turf; and the 37th running of the $300,000 Commonwealth (G3) for 4-year-olds and up going 7 furlongs on the dirt.

The Toyota Blue Grass is the 10th race with a 5:48 p.m. post. The race will be streamed live and at no charge on, and fans can tune into live, onsite coverage on FanDuel TV.

The winner of the Toyota Blue Grass will earn 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, while the second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-place finishers receive 50, 25, 15 and 10 points, respectively.

In total, 19 of the top 20 point earners toward the 150th running of the $5 million Kentucky Derby (G1) Presented by Woodford Reserve on May 4 are nominated to the Toyota Blue Grass.

Repole Stable’s homebred Fierceness earned the Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old male of 2023 with a 6¼-length victory in the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance in November at Santa Anita. In his 2024 debut, Fierceness was third in the Holy Bull (G3) at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 3.

Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Walmac Farm’s Locked finished third as the favorite behind Fierceness in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Prior to that, Locked overcame a wide trip to prevail in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity.

Pletcher won the Toyota Blue Grass with Bandini (2005), Monba (2008), Carpe Diem (2015) and Tapit Trice (2023). He leads all trainers with 18 horses nominated to this year’s race.

Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, Westerberg, Rocket Ship Racing and Peter Brant’s Sierra Leone rallied to post a half-length victory in last Saturday’s Risen Star in his 2024 debut. After the race, Brown indicated the Toyota Blue Grass would be the next start for Sierra Leone. In 2022, Brown used the same schedule for Zandon, who won the Toyota Blue Grass after racing in the Risen Star. Brown first won the Toyota Blue Grass in 2018 with Good Magic.

Two other Grade 1 winners are among the 2024 nominees: Zedan Racing Stables’ Muth and WinStar Farm and Siena Farm’s Timberlake.

Trained by Bob Baffert, Muth won the American Pharoah (G1) and the San Vicente (G2). He finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile behind Fierceness.

Brad Cox trains Timberlake, who won the Champagne (G1) and was fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Other prominent Toyota Blue Grass nominees include Albaugh Family Stables’ Catching Freedom, winner of the Smarty Jones (L); West Paces Racing, R. A. Hill Stable, Belmar Racing and Breeding, Two Eight Racing and Pine Racing Stables’ Dornoch, winner of the Remsen (G2) and a full brother to 2023 Kentucky Derby winner Mage; D. J. Stable and Robert Cotran’s Hades, winner of the Holy Bull (G3); Ribble Farms’ Honor Marie, winner of the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2); Stephen and Evan Ferraro’s Liberal Arts, winner of the Street Sense (G3); Morplay Racing’s No More Time, winner of the Sam F. Davis (G3); Baoma Corporation’s Nysos, winner of the Robert B. Lewis (G3) and the Bob Hope (G3); Sharon and Rick Walker’s Stronghold, winner of the Sunland Park Derby (G3); L and N Racing, Clark Brewster, Jerry Caroom and Breeze Easy’s Track Phantom, winner of the Lecomte (G3) and runner-up in the Risen Star; Milan Racing Stables’ Uncle Heavy, winner of the Withers (G3); and Harry Veruchi’s West Saratoga, winner of the Iroquois (G3).

The late nomination deadline for the Toyota Blue Grass is Wednesday, March 20.

Post positions for the Toyota Blue Grass and all other races on April 6 and April 7 will be drawn on Tuesday, April 2.

The first 12 runnings of the Blue Grass were held at the Kentucky Association track, which was located near downtown Lexington and operated from 1828-1933. The race was held there in 1911-1914 and 1919-1926. The inaugural winner was Governor Gray, who finished a half-length in front of Meridian; the two returned three days later in the Kentucky Derby with Meridian winning by three-quarters of a length over favored Governor Gray.

Second-place Blue Grass finishers Donerail (1913) and Behave Yourself (1921) next captured the Kentucky Derby. In 1926, Bubbling Over became the first Blue Grass-Derby winner.

With the closure of the Kentucky Association track, the Blue Grass was resumed at Keeneland in April 1937 during the track’s first Spring Meet of 11 days. Since then, the stakes has been won by such Racing Hall of Famers as Bimelech (1940), Coaltown (1948), Round Table (1957), Northern Dancer (1964), Arts and Letters (1969), Riva Ridge (1972), Alydar (1978), Spectacular Bid (1979), Holy Bull (1994) and Skip Away (1996).

Nineteen horses who ran in the Blue Grass at Keeneland, including 10 winners, went on to win the Kentucky Derby.

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 Keeneland Library, a world-renowned public research institution with the mission of preserving information about the Thoroughbred industry. To learn more, visit

For more information contact
Amy Gregory at 859 361-3490
Amy Owens at 859 421-2566

Click here for the Toyota Blue Grass (G1) nominees