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Blue Grass Stakes

Blue Grass Stakes

On Saturday, April 3, 2021, Essential Quality edged a game Highly Motivated to win the $800,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2) at Keeneland, collecting 100 points on the Road to the 2021 Kentucky Derby (G1). No matter if you’re looking for 2021 Blue Grass contenders, entries, odds, 2020 results and payouts, news, past winners, picks and tips, or handicapping advice, you will have the most updated information here.

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Essential Quality (left) edges past Highly Motivated (Credit: Keeneland Photo)

Race Recap/Replay

Trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Luis Saez, the 1/2 favorite Godolphin homebred Essential Quality nailed Highly Motivated at the wire to extend his undefeated record. The 3-year-old Tapit colt’s win was his fifth from as many starts and his second of the year following late February’s Southwest Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park. The Tapit colt’s earnings now stand at $2,265,144.

See the finishing order, results, and payouts below. Also, be sure to download our 2021 Inside Track to the Blue Grass wagering guide by clicking the banner below. These wagering guides are included at least once a month as part of our premium picks packages.

Keeneland Picks
4Essential QualityBrad CoxLuis Saez3.002.202.10
3Highly MotivatedChad BrownJavier Castellano3.402.80
5RombauerMichael McCarthyFlorent Geroux5.40
$0.50 Pick 35-5-4 (3 Correct)$4.75$317,816
$0.50 Pick 41/13-5-5-4 (4 Correct)$14.70$950,070
$0.50 Pick 51-1/13-5-5-4 (4 Correct)$1.85$0
$0.50 Pick 51-1/13-5-5-4 (5 Correct)$48.50$1,485,090
$1.00 Pick 61-1-1/13-5-5-4 (6 Correct)$170.50$362,436
$1.00 Pick 61-1-1/13-5-5-4 (5 Correct)$5.90$0
$1.00 Daily Double5-4$3.20$177,497
$1.00 Exacta4-3$3.70$893,546
$0.10 Superfecta4-3-5-1$7.56$398,803
$0.50 Super High Five4-3-5-1-9$100.20$49,280$25,195
$0.50 Trifecta4-3-5$11.50$669,667



The Blue Grass Stakes (G2) has been the highlight of Keeneland’s spring meet since 1937. The 1 1/8-mile dirt race has produced many Kentucky Derby winners over its illustrious history. Here are the past winners since 1937:

2021Essential QualityLuis Saez Brad CoxGodolphin, LLC1:48.50
2020Art CollectorBrian Hernandez, Jr.Tommy DruryBruce Lunsford1:48.11
2019VekomaJavier CastellanoGeorge WeaverR. A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables1:50.93
2018Good MagicJose OrtizChad Browne Five Racing and Stonestreet Stables1:50.18
2017Irap Julien Leparoux Doug O'Neil Reddam Racing LLC 1:50.39
2016Brody's Cause Luis Saez Dale Romans Albaugh Family Stable 1:50.20
2015Carpe Diem John Velazquez Todd Pletcher WinStar Farm/Stonestreet Stables 1:49.77
2014Dance With Fate Corey Nakatani Peter Eurton Alesia/Bran Jam Stable/Ciaglia Racing 1:50.06
2013Java's War Julien Leparoux Kenny McPeek Charle Fipke 1:50.27
2012Dullahan Kent Desormeaux Dale Romans Donegal Radcing 1:47.94
2011Brilliant Speed Joel Rosario Thomas Albertrani Live Oak Plantation 1:50.92
2010Stately Victor Alan Garcia Mike Maker F. Thomas and Jack Conway 1:48.69
2009General Quarters Eibar Coa Thomas McCarthy Thomas McCarthy1:49.26
2008Monba Edgar Parado Todd Pletcher Starlight Stables 1:49.71
2007Dominican Rafael Bajarano Darrin Miller Silverton LLC 1:51.33
2006Sinister Minister Garrett Gomez Bob Baffert Mercedes Stable 1:48.85
2005Bandini John Velazquez Todd Pletcher Michael Tabor 1:48.85
2004The Cliff's Edge Shane Sellers Nick Zito Robert LaPenta 1:49.42
2003Peace Rules Edgar Prado Bobby Frankel Edmund Gann 1:51.73
2002Harlan's Holiday Edgar Prado Kenny McPeek Starlight Stable 1:51.51
2001Millennium Wind Laffit Pincay Jr. David Hoffmans D & J Heerensperger 1:48.32
2000High Yield Pat Day D Wayne Lukas Tabor/Lewis/Magnier 1:48.60
1999Menifee Pat Day Elliott Walden Hancock/Stone1:48.60
1998Halory Hunter Gary Stevens Nick Zito Celtic Pride Stable 1:47.80
1997Pulpit Shane Sellers Frank Brothers Claiborne Farm 1:49.80
1996Skip Away Shane Sellers Sonny Hine Carolyn Hine 1:47.20
1995Wild Syn Randy Romero Thomas ArnemannJurgen Arnemann 1:49.20
1994Holy Bull Mike Smith Warren Croll Jr. Warren Croll Jr. 1:50.00
1993Prairie Bayou Mike Smith Tom Bohannan Loblolly Stable 1:49.60
1992Pistols and Roses Jacitno Vazquez George Gianos Willis Family Stables 1:49.00
1991Strike the Gold Chris Antley Nick Zito BCC Stable 1:48.40
1990Summer Squall Pat Day Neil Howard Dogwood Stable 1:48.60
1989Western Playboy Randy Romero Harvey Vanier R Vanier/R. Roncari 1:51.20
1988Granacus Jacinto Vazquez Pat Collins Steve A. Stavro 1:52.20
1987WarHerb McCauley D Wayne Lukas Tom Gentry 1:48.40
1986Bachelor Beau Larry Melacon Phillip Hauswald R. A. Waterfield/J. B. Tafel 1:51.20
1985Chief's Crown Don MacBeth Roger Laurin Star Crown Stable 1:47.60
1984Taylor's Special Pat Day Bill Mott William Lucas 1:52.20
1983Play Fellow Jean Cruguet Harvey Vanier Vanier/Lauer/Victor1:49.40
1982Linkage Bill Shoemaker Henry Clark Christiana Stable 1:48.00
1981Proud Appeal Jeffery Fell Stanley Gough Gainesway Farm 1:51.40
1980Rockhill Native John OldhamHerbert Stevens Harry A. Oak 1:50.00
1979Spectacular Bid Ronnie Franklin Bud Delp Hawksworth Farm 1:50.00
1978Alydar Jorge Velazquez John Veitch Calumet Farm 1:49.60
1977For the Moment Angel Cordero Jr. LeRoy Jolley Gerald Robins 1:50.20
1976Honest Pleasure Braulio BaezaLeRoy Jolley Bertram Firestone 1:49.40
1975Master Derby Darrel McHargue Smiley Adams Golden Chance Farm 1:49.00
1974Judger Lafitt Pincay Jr. Woody StephensSeth Hancock 1:49.20
1973My Gallant Angel Cordero Jr. Lou Goldfine Arthur Appleton 1:49.60
1972Riva Ridge Ron Turcotte Lucien Laurin Meadow Stable 1:49.60
1971ImpetuosityEric Guerin George Poole W. P. Rosso1:49.40
1970Dust Commander Mike ManganelloDon Combs Robert Lehmann 1:51.20
1969Arts and Letters Bill Shoemaker J. Elliott Burch Rokeby Stable 1:47.80
1968Forward Pass Ismael ValenzuelaHenry Forrest Calumet Farm 1:47.80
1967Diplomat Way Johnny Sellers John Meaux Harvey Peltier 1:49.60
1966Abe's Hope Bill Shoemaker Del Carroll Grand Prix Stable 1:49.20
1965Luck Debonair Bill Shoemaker Frank Catrone Ada Rice 1:49.00
1964Northern Dancer Bill Hartack Horatio Luro Windfields Farm 1:49.80
1963Chateaugay Braulio BaezaJames Conway Darby Dan Farm 1:48.00
1962Ridan Manuel Ycaza LeRoy Jolley Jolley/Woods/Greer1:47.60
1961Sherluck Braulio BaezaHarold Young Jacob Sher1:48.60
1960Tompion Bill Shoemaker Robert Wheeler C. V. Whitney 1:48.60
1959Tommy Lee Bill Shoemaker Frank Childs Fred Turner Jr. 1:48.60
1958Plion David Erb Tom Jolley Edward Potter Jr. 1:52.80
1957Round Table Ralph Neves William Molter Kerr Stable 1:47.40
1956Toby B. Robert Baird R. E. Wingfield Van Deren & Deming 1:51.00
1955Racing Fool Henry Moreno Loyd Gentry Jr. Cain Hoy Sable 1:51.80
1954Goyamo Eddie ArcaroWoody Stephens Woodvale Farm 1:50.60
1953Correspondent Eddie Arcaro Wally Dunn Mrs. Gordon Gulberson1:49.00
1952Gushing Oil Steve Brooks Whitney Jansen Sam Wilson Jr. 1:52.40
Ramon Adair
Job Dean Jessop
Sylvester Veitch
Robert McGarvey
C. V. Whitney
Mrs. Emil Denmark
1950Mr. Trouble Douglas Dodson Sylvester Veitch C. V. Whitney1:50.40
1949Halt Conn McCreary Woody Stephens Woodvale Farm1:52.60
1948Coaltown Newbold Pierson Ben Jones Calumet Farm 1:49.20
1947Faultless Douglas Dodson Ben Jones Calumet Farm1:51.20
1946Lord Boswell Eddie Acaro James Smith Maine Chance Farm1:51.60
1945Darby Dieppi Melvin Calvert Charles Gentry Mrs. W. G. Lewis 1:53.40
1944Skytracer Mike Cafferella Frank Baker Manuel Goff 1:52.60
1943Ocean Wave Wendell Eads Ben Jones Calumet Farm 1:53.80
1942Shout Out Eddie Arcaro John Gaver Sr. Greentree Stable 1:52.40
1941Our Boots Conn McCreary Steve Judge Woodvale Farm 1:51.20
1940BimelechFred Smith Bill Hurley Edward Bradley 1:51.00
1939Heather Broom Basil James Earl Sande John Hay Whitney 1:54.20
1938Bull Leah Irving Anderson Frank Kearns Calumet Farm 1:49.60
1937Fencing Jack Westrope Earl Sande Maxwell Howard 1:57.20
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Top Payouts

Woodbine $2,254.30
November 28, 2021 Race 11 Superfecta
Laurel Park $1,749.80
November 28, 2021 Race 4-7 Pick 4
Fair Grounds $793.80
November 28, 2021 Race 6 Superfecta
Aqueduct $517.00
November 28, 2021 Race 5-7 Pick 3
Del Mar $489.00
November 28, 2021 Race 6-9 Pick 4

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