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2022 Blue Grass Stakes Replay & Reaction | Zandon Romps, Bound For Kentucky Derby
Keeneland Photo

2022 Blue Grass Stakes Replay & Reaction | Zandon Romps, Bound For Kentucky Derby

The Racing Dudes team reacts to Zandon winning the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) at Keeneland, then discuss who they like moving forward, including any potential longshots. Join our replay watch-along to get our instant LIVE reactions to this major Kentucky Derby (G1) prep race worth 100-40-20-10 points to the top 4 finishers, then tell us your thoughts about the race in the Comments section!

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The track press release:

Jeff Drown’s Zandon roared past favored Smile Happy approaching the sixteenth pole and drew off to a 2½-length victory to win the 98th running of the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G1) for 3-year-olds on a brisk Saturday afternoon at Keeneland. 

All-sources handle for the 11-race card set a single-day wagering record, totaling $28,137,728 to exceed the previous record of $25,809,200 set on Toyota Blue Grass Day in 2019.

Trained by Chad Brown and ridden by Flavien Prat, Zandon completed the mile and an eighth on a muddy track in 1:50.35. It is the second victory in the race for Brown, who saddled Good Magic to win the 2018 running. 

With the victory, Zandon picked up 100 points toward qualification for the $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1) Presented by Woodford Reserve to be run May 7 at Churchill Downs. With 114 points, Zandon ranks second for the race that is limited to the top 20 point earners that pass the entry box. 

Picking up 40 points for second was Smile Happy to increase his total to 70 points, good for 10th place on the leaderboard. Emmanuel added 20 points for finishing third to boost his total to 25 to rank 25th, and Golden Glider picked up 10 points for fourth to bring his total to 15 to rank 33rd

Emmanuel, with Luis Saez aboard, grabbed the lead out of the gate and led the field through fractions of :24.04 and :48.39 while being tracked by Golden Glider with Smile Happy in the clear racing third and Zandon far back in the pack. 

The top three remained unchanged going into the far turn as Zandon was last while racing between horses. On the turn, Prat began to weave his way through the field, while on the front end Corey Lanerie sent Smile Happy after Emmanuel. 

At the top of the stretch, Smile Happy brushed with Emmanuel as he surged to the front while behind him Zandon had clear sailing in his pursuit of Smile Happy. Smile Happy maintained the advantage passing the eighth pole but could not hold off Zandon. 

A Keeneland sales graduate, Zandon is a Kentucky-bred son of Upstart out of the Creative Cause mare Memories Prevail. Now 4-2-1-1 in his career, Zandon has earned $713,000 with $573,500 of it coming from the Toyota Blue Grass check.   

Sent off as the second choice in the field of 11, Zandon returned $6.20, $3.20 and $2.40. Smile Happy returned $3.20 and $2.40 and finished 3¾ lengths in front of Emmanuel, who paid $3.60 to show. 

It was another half-length back to Golden Glider in fourth with Trademark, Rattle N Roll, Ethereal Road, Commandperformance, Blackadder, Volcanic and Fenwick following in order.