Horse Racing

2024 Blue Grass Stakes Betting Odds and Contenders Preview

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2024 Blue Grass Stakes Betting Odds and Contenders Preview

The 2024 Blue Grass Stakes happens on Saturday, April 8, at Keeneland! The race is one of the highlights of Keeneland’s spring meet, and it is one of the last major preps for the Kentucky Derby season. The race covers 1 ⅛ miles over the dirt and drew a field of 11 intriguing Kentucky Derby prospects. Top among them are Dornoch, a full brother to the 2023 hero in the Run for the Roses, Mage, as well as Risen Star winner Sierra Leone.

The race offers $1 million, one of the most lucrative purses of the year. That includes $150,000 in Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund money for Kentucky-breds, but all 11 entrants were bred in the bluegrass state. The race also offers 100-50-25-15-10 points to the top five finishers, making it a true final prep. That guarantees the winner a spot in the Kentucky Derby, makes it likely the second-place finisher gets into the field, and can even put others who run well in a good place if they have run well in one or two other prep races.

Nineteen Kentucky Derby winners have used the Blue Grass as a prep for victory on the first Saturday in May, including 10 who won both races. Though the last Kentucky Derby winner who prepared in the Blue Grass was Street Sense (2007), Blue Grass winners have run well in recent years. Zandon (2022) finished third in the Run for the Roses, and Essential Quality (2021) finished a close fourth. And, though Art Collector (2020) bypassed the Derby completely, he stayed good as an older horse and won the Pegasus World Cup (G1) in 2023!

Blue Grass Stakes 2024 Information

  • Race Date: Saturday, April 6, 2024
  • Track: Keeneland
  • Post Time: 5:52 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
  • Distance: 1 1/8 miles
  • Age/Sex: three-year-olds
  • Where to Watch: FanDuel TV
  • Where to Bet: and FanDuel Racing

Blue Grass Stakes Odds

This is the official field for the Blue Grass Stakes, including post positions, trainers, jockeys, and morning-line odds for each runner:

1Top ConorChad BrownJose Ortiz15-1
2Be YouTodd PletcherIrad Ortiz, Jr.8-1
3Seize the GreyD. Wayne LukasNik Juarez20-1
4DornochDanny GarganLuis Saez3-1
5Good MoneyChad BrownJavier Castellano20-1
6Just a TouchBrad CoxFlorent Geroux7-2
7Lat LongKenny McPeekBrian Hernandez, Jr.30-1
View Full Table

Blue Grass Stakes Prep Results

With Keeneland being a short, boutique meet that just gets underway this week, it is typical for the runners in the Blue Grass to come out of many different prep races. The 2024 field is no exception: the 11 horses come out of 10 different last-out races.

The only race in which more than one horse made their most recent start was the John Battaglia Memorial, a 10-point Kentucky Derby prep at Turfway Park. Encino won by a length over Epic Ride, and both halves of the exacta try dirt for the first time in the Blue Grass.

Two others come out of other stakes at Turfway. Mugatu did run fourth behind Encino in the Battaglia, though he has already returned to the track since that race, finishing eighth in the Rushaway, a non-points race on the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) undercard. One other horse in the Blue Grass does come out of the Jeff Ruby, a 100-point Kentucky Derby prep: Seize the Grey, who finished third behind the impressive Endlessly.

Four runners come out of 50-point Road to the Kentucky Derby races at other tracks. Two won last out: Dornoch won the Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream in his sophomore debut. The horse Dornoch nosed out in the Remsen (G2) last year, Sierra Leone, comes into the Blue Grass off of a season-opening victory in the Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds. Just a Touch was most recently second in the Gotham (G2) Aqueduct, while Good Money was fourth behind Domestic Product in the Tampa Bay Derby (G3).

Lat Long also comes out of a Kentucky Derby prep, but an earlier one. He was most recently third behind Track Phantom in the 20-point Lecomte (G3).

The other two runners each come out of maiden special weight wins on the dirt at Gulfstream. Top Conor won at a mile on February 17, while Be You graduated at seven furlongs on March 2.

Blue Grass Stakes Contenders

These are the contenders in the Blue Grass Stakes, organized by post position:

Top Conor: He faces a real test. He has only raced once, in a one-turn mile for maidens, so now he has to try not only winners for the first time but also two turns. He also has to handle a rail draw in a tough field. Then again, trainer Chad Brown does well with distance horses, and he broke his maiden from the fence in an 11-horse field, so he has more upside than most such inexperienced runners.

Be You: It took him six tries to break his maiden, something he finally did last time in a seven-furlong sprint. However, Todd Pletcher thought enough of Be You to run him in two Grade 1 races last year, including one in California. He may be figuring it out, but distance remains a question: his best form has come in sprints despite his pedigree (he is a Curlin half to Constitution) being all route.

Seize the Grey: The only horse in the field coming out of a 100-point prep, he just missed second in the Jeff Ruby on synthetic but has shown some better form on conventional dirt. His pedigree suggests the 1 ⅛ miles (or even more) would be good for him, and he has shown the tactical speed to work a trip. A big question is Keeneland: he was well beaten in his only start over the course, though that was also his last start in a substantial juvenile campaign, so form may have been a factor.

Dornoch: He may be a full brother to 2023 Kentucky Derby winner Mage, but unlike his brother, he raced at age two. Route distances woke him up, and he won the 1 ⅛-mile Remsen over Sierra Leone in his final juvenile start. He picked up right where he left off, leading at every call to win a scratch-marred Fountain of Youth. And, that’s the biggest question here: the stamina and the front-end grit are there, but at a short price, he may be an underlay against other good horses.

Good Money: Another relatively inexperienced Chad Brown horse, he graduated in his sprint debut at Tampa and was only ¾ lengths beaten by stablemate Domestic Product in the Tampa Bay Derby. Expect him to be on or near the pace, though his maiden win showed a tactical gear that could serve him well. He has a lot of room to move forward: Brown is spectacular with second-time routers, and his pedigree is good for distance.

Just a Touch: This Brad Cox trainee has just two starts, both of which have come over muddy tracks. He broke his maiden impressively at one turn and came back with a good but not winning effort at the one-turn mile in the Gotham. He has tactical speed, and if he can run back to those last two over a two-turn trip on a dry track, he is a contender. But, even with a strong distance pedigree (he is by Justify out of a Tapit mare), make sure you’re getting a price given the surface and class questions.

Lat Long: Most of the field has a fairly recent start, but Lat Long comes in off a bona fide layoff: he has not raced since the Lecomte in January. His ability to pass horses is well proven, and he has the consistency to run on for a piece over and over again. Ken McPeek also ran red-hot last weekend, so perhaps he carries that form into Keeneland. However, he typically seems to find one or two too good, so consider him as a long shot for underneath in exotics only.

Epic Ride: He ran four good races at Turfway this winter, including a stakes win and a second-place in the Battaglia Memorial (a Kentucky Derby points race) behind Encino. He drew well, and he is versatile enough to be part of the pace or sit just off of it and still run well. The big question is surface: he has only ever raced on Tapeta. His pedigree is a mixed bag, surface-wise, though his consistency and the fact that he comes from an under-the-radar barn add to some exotics appeal.

Mugatu: With 11 starts, he is the most experienced horse in the field. However, he has very little experience on dirt: just one start, a well-beaten fourth in a one-turn mile at Gulfstream. His recent form is his best, and perhaps he has some upside, trying something new, but even his best races are a cut below what the real contenders in this field have shown, meaning he would be a surprise.

Sierra Leone: The A-lister among the Chad Brown trio, his only blemish in three starts was being nosed out by Dornoch in a hard-fought Remsen last December. He picked up right where he left off in the Risen Star last out, winning by half a length. What was impressive about that victory was, he closed to win even though the pace was not particularly fast. With so many in this field who like being on or near the pace, he likely gets a good setup. Whether he gets all the way up down Keeneland’s short stretch is a question (Fair Grounds, on the other hand, has an extremely long stretch), but Tyler Gaffalione knows Keeneland well enough to time the move.

Encino: After three sharp and steadily improving starts at Turfway, this Brad Cox trainee tries dirt for the first time. His pedigree is full of good influences for both dirt and distance, and his maiden and Battaglia wins showed the versatility to set the pace or rally. He also showed in the Battaglia that he could handle a wide draw. He’ll be a price with higher-profile contenders in the field, but he has every reason to be a real win contender.

Blue Grass Stakes Past Winners Past Performances

In the nine years since the Blue Grass got back on dirt, six different races have produced winners of the race. Carpe Diem (2015) and Tapit Trice (2023) came out of victories in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2), while Brody’s Cause (2016) rebounded from a seventh-place finish in that race. There are also two recent winners who both came out of third-place tries in the Fountain of Youth (G2): Good Magic (2018) and Vekoma (2019).

Three other recent Blue Grass winners came out of other points races. Essential Quality (2021) won the Southwest (G3), Zandon (2022) was third in the Risen Star (G2), and Irap (2017) came out of a fourth-place try in the Sunland Derby (G3). Art Collector (2020), who won the COVID-delayed July edition of the Blue Grass, came out of an allowance win at Churchill Downs but did have one graded-stakes try as a two-year-old.

Blue Grass Stakes Undercard

The Blue Grass is the tenth of eleven races Saturday at Keeneland, on a card that features five stakes races. Other major races on the card include the $600,000 Madison (G1) for older female dirt sprinters, the $400,000 Appalachian (G2) for sophomore female turf milers, the $350,000 Shakertown (G2) for older turf sprinters, and the $300,000 Commonwealth (G3) for older dirt sprinters.

The classiest horses in the country come to Keeneland, and the whole first weekend in April is one of the most eagerly-awaited events of the racing calendar. Kentucky Oaks prospects line up Friday for the Central Bank Ashland (G1), and stakes action continues through Sunday with the Beaumont (G3). Saturday cards at Aqueduct and Santa Anita also feature outstanding competition and Kentucky Derby prospects as well! With big fields all day, make plans to watch on FanDuel TV and bet with FanDuel and TVG all day long!


Lexington, Kentucky is the home of one of the most important venues in worldwide horse racing—Keeneland. A group of horsemen opened the track in 1936, three years after the closure of the Kentucky Association track. Keeneland is unique in that it is not only home to a top-class racecourse, but also a sales ground from which top-class horses are purchased not just by US-based owners and trainers but from those as far afield as England, Ireland, France, and Dubai.

Keeneland’s standing was highlighted again in 2009 when the Horseplayers Association of North America introduced its rating system which placed it right at the top at number one. Nestled in the heart of Kentucky horse country, it is also a designated National Historic Landmark.

Blue Grass Stakes FAQ

Q: When and where is the Blue Grass Stakes?

A: The Blue Grass (G1) (for sponsorship purposes, known as the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes) will be run on Saturday, April 8, at 5:52 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky. The race is the tenth of eleven on Saturday’s card at Keeneland.

Q: Which trainer has the most wins in the Blue Grass Stakes?

A: Todd Pletcher owns the record with four wins in the Blue Grass. He will go for a record-extending fifth win in 2024 with Be You.

Q: Who is the favorite for the Blue Grass Stakes?

A: Off of his strong victory in the Risen Star (G2), Sierra Leone is the 2-1 morning-line favorite for the Blue Grass Stakes. However, Dornoch (3-1) nosed him out in the Withers and also comes out of a 50-point prep win, and he may just as likely end up favored.

Q: Who is the best Blue Grass Stakes jockey?

A: Bill Shoemaker leads all jockeys with six wins in the Blue Grass between 1959 and 1982. Among jockeys riding in the race in 2024, Luis Saez leads all riders with three wins, with Brody’s Cause (2016), Essential Quality (2021), and Tapit Trice (2023). He rides Dornoch for trainer Danny Gargan in 2024.

Q: Who won the 2023 Blue Grass Stakes?

A: Tapit Trice won the 2023 Blue Grass for trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey Luis Saez. Saez partners with Dornoch, while Pletcher gives Irad Ortiz, Jr. the call on Be You.

This year’s Kentucky Derby Prep Races have already been filled with excitement and anticipation as horses compete for a coveted spot in the 150th Kentucky Derby. Now, FanDuel customers can join the action with this No Sweat Bet Up to $10! See the promotions page for more information.

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