LEXINGTON, KY (March 3, 2016) – Two undefeated colts – Reddam Racing’s champion Nyquist and Shadwell Stable’s Mohaymen – lead a talented group of 146 three-year-old males nominated to the 92nd running of Keeneland’s $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G1) on April 9, the first Saturday of the 2016 Spring Meet. The Toyota Blue Grass, worth seven figures for the second consecutive year, is one of the richest prep races for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1).
The winner of the 1 1/8-mile Toyota Blue Grass earns 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. The second-, third- and fourth-place finishers will receive 40 points, 20 points and 10 points, respectively.
A complete list of the Toyota Blue Grass nominees and their past performances, statistics and a history of the race can be found at Keeneland.com/bluegrass. Post positions for the Toyota Blue Grass will be drawn Tuesday, April 5.
“We are very pleased with the tremendous quality of the Toyota Blue Grass nominees, which features the top 26 point-earners on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and 12 of the 14 horses who ran in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) here last fall,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing W.B. Rogers Beasley said. “We thank our horsemen for their strong support of Keeneland.”
Nyquist earned an Eclipse Award as 2015 champion juvenile male on the strength of victories in the FrontRunner (G1), Del Mar Futurity (G1) and Best Pal (G2), ending his season with a resounding win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. The colt opened his 2016 campaign with a win in the San Vicente (G2) on Feb. 15 at Santa Anita. He currently ranks third in terms of points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard behind Mohaymen, winner of the Remsen (G2) and Nashua (G2) at Aqueduct in 2015 and Lambholm South Holy Bull (G2) and Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) this year, and Winchell Thoroughbred and Three Chimneys Farm’s Gun Runner, a Toyota Blue Grass nominee who won the Veterans Ford Risen Star (G2) on Feb. 20 at Fair Grounds.
Among the other prominent nominees to the Toyota Blue Grass are Albaugh Family Stable’s Brody’s Cause, winner of Keeneland’s Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1); Michael Petersen’s Mor Spirit, winner of the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) and recent Robert B. Lewis (G3); Dennis Drazin’s Sunny Ridge, winner of the Withers (G3); Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence’s Flexibility, winner of the Jerome (G3); St. Elias Stable, MeB Racing and Brooklyn Boyz Stables’ Greenpointcrusader, winner of the Champagne (G1); and Samuel Henderson’s Suddenbreakingnews, winner of the Southwest (G3).
Other notable nominees include Richard Ravin and Patricia’s Hope’s Iroquois (G3) winner Cocked and Loaded; Speedway Stable’s Sham (G3) winner Collected; Big Chief Racing, Rocker O Ranch and Keith Desormeaux’s Saratoga Special (G2) and Delta Downs Jackpot (G3) winner Exaggerator; Reddam Racing’s El Camino Real Derby (G3) winner Frank Conversation; and G M B Racing’s Lecomte (G3) winner Mo Tom.
Multiple Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher, who won the 2015 Toyota Blue Grass with Carpe Diem, leads all trainers by number of nominees to the 2016 race with 22. They include Sam F. Davis (G3) winner Destin and Fountain of Youth runner-up Zulu.
Racing Hall of Fame member and 2015 Triple Crown-winning trainer Bob Baffert is second with 17 horses nominated to the race.
A late nomination period for the Toyota Blue Grass closes Wednesday, March 23.
For the second consecutive year, the Toyota Blue Grass and its counterpart for 3-year-old fillies, the $500,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1), lead Keeneland’s 11-race card on the opening Saturday of the Spring Meet. Worth a total of $2.25 million, the five stakes that day include the $300,000 Madison (G1) for older fillies and mares at 7 furlongs on the dirt; $200,000 Shakertown (G2) for older horses at 5½ furlongs on turf; and $250,000 Commonwealth (G3) for older horses at 7 furlongs on the dirt.
Post time for the first race on April 9 is 12:35 p.m. ET. Post time for the Toyota Blue Grass is slated for 6 p.m.
NBC Sports Network will provide live coverage of the Toyota Blue Grass, along with the Wood Memorial (G1) and Santa Anita Derby (G1), from 5-7 p.m. The program also will include the stretch run of the Central Bank Ashland.
For the first time, the Toyota Blue Grass and Central Bank Ashland will be part of a Pick 4 that includes the Wood Memorial and another stakes from Aqueduct.
Keeneland’s 16-day Spring Meet will open Friday, April 8, and offer racing Wednesday through Sunday through Friday, April 29. Post time for the first race is 1:05 p.m. except April 9 and April 16 when the first post is 12:35 p.m.