No matter the season, Keeneland is a beautiful place to be. Something about sunshine amongst the lush greenery of the track however sounds particular delightful right about now. April 2-3 are the two opening days of the 15-day 2021 Spring meet. It's a jam packed two weeks with nine stakes races worth a total of $2.5 million.
April 3rd features two prep races with the $800,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G2) and the $400,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1). These races award the winners 100 points towards the Kentucky Derby and Oaks.
The Toyota Blue Grass has attracted 151 nominees with one of those being the undefeated ESSENTIAL QUALITY. The last time he ran at Keeneland, it was pretty spectacular, resulting in a Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) score.
The Central Bank Ashland attracted 88 nominees. Amongst them include VEQUIST, DAYOUTOFTHEOFFICE and SIMPLY RAVISHING.
Opening day features a 10-race card with three 3-year-old stakes:
· $150,000 Beaumont (G3) – 7 furlongs and 184 feet for fillies
· $150,000 Kentucky Utilities Transylvania (G3) – 1 1/16 miles (Turf)
· $100,000 Palisades Turf Sprint – 5 ½ miles
The Beaumont offers 17 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks on a 10-4-2-1 scale. DAYOUTOFTHEOFFICE is also nominated for this race, as is CRAZY BEAUTIFUL, MALATHAAT and WHOLEBODEMEISTER. All are also nominated for the Central Bank Ashland.
For the Kentucky Utilities Transylvania, 33 were nominated including FIRE AT WILL, GOLDEN PAL, OUTADORE, and BODENHEIMER.
Four other graded stakes are on the card as well including:
· $300,000 Madison (G1) for fillies and mares at 7 furlongs
· $200,000 Appalachian (G2) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 mile on the turf
· $200,000 Shakertown (G2) for 3-year-olds and up at 5 ½ miles on the turf
· $200,000 Commonwealth (G3) for older horses at 7 furlongs
The Madison has attracted 23 nominees including GAMINE, BELL'S THE ONE, and SCONSIN. The Appalachian has attracted AUNT PEARL and JESSAMINE.
The Shakertown has attracted the last three winners of the race including BOUND FOR NOWHERE, IMPRIMIS and LEINSTER. BOUND FOR NOWHERE won the 2018 Shakertown by four lengths but has not started since last July's Shakertown.
BY MY STANDARDS, BASIN, CISTRON, HOG CREEK HUSTLE and ROADSTER are all nominated to the Commonwealth.
Keeneland will livestream the post position draws for the Toyota Blue Grass and Central Bank Ashland on Keeneland.com at 11:15 a.m. EST.
Get today's full picks for all tracks and races at Guaranteed Tip Sheet.