Keeneland usually hosts meetings in April and October. This year will be different. A special five-day meeting from July 8-12 includes most of the major stakes races that are traditionally run at the spring meeting.
They include Keeneland’s Kentucky Derby prep, the Blue Grass, to be run on Saturday, eight weeks before the rescheduled Run for the Roses.
Swiss Skydiver is looking to become the first filly to win the Blue Grass.
She has won her last three starts, at three different tracks. The most recent being a four-length victory in the Grade 2 Santa Anita Oaks. That was over 1/16 miles. The step up to 1 1/8 miles shouldn’t be a problem. She will carry five pounds less than her twelve male rivals as the 3-1 favorite.
The consistent and versatile Art Collector, at 5-1, will be looking to upset the filly. Basin, 8-1, looks to have some speed and could hold on for a place. Enforceable, 10-1, is a closer who could run on for a place.
Tiesto, 15-1, breaks from the outside post. All four of his starts have been on turf. However, he could spring a surprise in his first run on dirt. Rushie, 5-1, who finished third behind a pair of good ones in the Santa Anita Derby, also can’t be left out.
Swiss Skydiver has shown she could be better than these and gets the nod to make history in the Blue Grass.
GRADE 1 ASHLAND ALSO ON KEENELAND CARD
The Grade 1 Ashland Stakes for 3-year-old fillies over 1 1/16 miles also features at Keeneland on Saturday.
The 6-5 favorite, Venetian Harbor, won the Grade 2 Las Virgenes at Santa Anita over a mile in February. She stepped up to the Ashland trip in the Grade 3 Fantasy at Oaklawn, finishing second after leading all the way. She may not get an easy lead here.
Tonalist’s Shape, at 6-1, could also show early speed. However, she can also sit behind the leaders. She won her last start over the trip, at Gulfstream in May. She is moving up in class but could run well.
Second favorite Speech ran second in a pair of Santa Anita stakes, both at the Ashland trip. She will likely be sitting just off the early speed.
Bonny South, 5-1, won her last two starts, both over this trip, most recently the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks in March.
There is a lot of pace in the race. That could set it up for a closer like Bonny South, so she is the selection.