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Keeneland Summer Meet Stakes Previews
Credit: Keeneland Photo

Keeneland Summer Meet Stakes Previews

LEXINGTON, KY – A special five-day summer meet will be held at Keeneland, beginning on July 8 and running daily through July 12, with ten stakes worth $2.575 million headlining the final three days.

Six of the stakes will be held on Saturday, a card that will feature $500,000 guaranteed pools in an All-Stakes Pick 5 and an All-Stakes Pick 4.

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Friday, July 10

Two stakes top Friday’s card, starting with on turf with the $300,000 Maker’s Mark Mile (G1). The race attracted 34 nominees, including Raging Bull and Next Shares, the 1-2 finishers in the Shoemaker Mile (G1) earlier this year. Also nominated are a pair of Grade 1 winners from owner Gary Barber and trainer Mark Casse: Got Stormy and War of Will.

The $100,000 Beaumont Presented by Keeneland Select (G3) is a 7-furlong main track sprint that saw 27 sophomore fillies nominated, including the Frizette Stakes (G1) winner Wicked Whisper. The Beaumont awards Kentucky Oaks (G1) points to the top four finishers on a 20-8-4-2 scale.

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Saturday, July 11

The 3-year-old males take center stage in the meet’s most famous event, the $600,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G2) that awards Kentucky Derby (G1) points to the top four finishers on a 100-40-20-10 basis. Among the 48 nominees looking to secure their spots in the Derby gate is the leading Oaks contender Swiss Skydiver, a late Triple Crown nominee who has yet to face the boys but has won her past 3 starts, all at the graded stakes level.

Swiss Skydiver also appears on the list for the $400,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1), the 3-year-old fillies replicant of the Blue Grass that awards Kentucky Oaks points on a matching scale. Fellow Grade 2 winners Bonny SouthTonalist’s Shape, and Venetian Harbor also appear as nominees.

Not one, but two Grade 1 races for older fillies and mares (ages 4 and up) are on Saturday’s card. The $350,000 Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1) is a 1 1/16-mile turf jaunt that sees the potential return for the defending champion Rushing Fall, leader of the 22 potential runners. She could face her Chad Brown stablemate Sistercharlie, the 2018 champion whose name also appears on the list.

Speaking of defending championsSpiced Perfection was nominated to the $250,000 Madison (G2), a 7-furlong main track sprint that attracted a total of 23. She also won the local Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) last fall.

The remaining two stakes head back to the turf, starting with the $150,000 Shakertown (G2). The 5 1/2-furlong sprint has 36 names on the list, including the 2018 champion Bound for Nowhere, who was also second in last year’s edition.

The $150,000 Appalachian Presented by Japan Racing Association (G2) is a 1-mile event that drew 29 sophomore fillies. Chief among them is Sweet Melania, winner of last fall’s Jessamine (G2) over the same course.

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Sunday, July 12

Closing day features a pair of turf stakes attracted 69 nominees between them. 39 are on the list for the $175,000 TVG Elkhorn (G2), a 1 1/2-mile marathon headlined by Zulu Alpha, a multiple graded stakes winner who took the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) and the Mac Diarmida (G2) to start 2020.

His Mike Maker-trained stablemate Field Pass tops the $100,000 Kentucky Utilities Transylvania (G3), which took the other 30 nominations. Field Pass brings plenty of class wherever he goes, having won the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) on a synthetic surface and two other stakes on turf.

Each day’s first post time is 1:05 PM Eastern. NBCSN will air live coverage of the TVG Elkhorn on Sunday from 5:00 – 7:00 PM Eastern.

A full list of every race’s nominee can be found here:

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