Anne M. Eberhardt

Blue Grass, Ashland Highlight Keeneland Meet

Lexington track's 15-day spring meet gets under way Friday, April 4.

Sixteen stakes worth a combined $3.775 million, including the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) and $500,000 Ashland Stakes (gr. I), anchor the 15-day spring meet at Keeneland, which starts Friday, April 4.

The meet runs through Friday, April 25.

The Lexington track will conduct racing on Wednesdays through Sundays with post time for the first race each day at 1:05 p.m. (ET) except for Toyota Blue Grass Day April 12, when first post is 12:35 p.m. There will be no live racing Easter Sunday, April 20.
Keeneland's signature race, the Toyota Blue Grass, is worth 100 qualifying points to the winner on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. In collaboration with The Jockey Club and FOX Sports 1, Keeneland will provide live coverage of the race from 4:30-6 p.m. ET as part of the The Jockey Club Tour on FOX series. 
The Toyota Blue Grass, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds, has been the springboard for 19 horses that have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). The race helped draw 37,161 fans to the track last season, marking the second-largest crowd in Keeneland history. The all-sources mutuel handle exceeded $21.1 million, the second-highest total ever for a Keeneland race day.
The $500,000 Central Bank Ashland, for 3-year-old fillies racing 1 1/16 miles, will be held April 5. The Ashland is a major steppingstone on the Road to the Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), awarding 100 qualifying points to the winner should the race be ovdersubscribed. Thirty-one fillies have used the Ashland as a prep to victory in the Oaks. 
Other prominent stakes slated for this spring are the $300,000 Maker's 46 Mile (gr. IT), a one-mile race on turf for older horses April 11, and the $200,000 Coolmore Lexington (gr. III), a 1 1/16-mile race April 19 for 3-year-olds with Triple Crown aspirations. 
The track's jockey colony is expected to include Joel Rosario, who set a spring meet record with 38 victories in 2013, and 2013 Eclipse Award winner Javier Castellano, who currently leads North America in victories and set a single-season earnings record in 2013 with more than $26.2 million in total purses. 
2014 Keeneland Spring Stakes Schedule
Date                      Stakes
Friday, April 4         $100,000 Transylvania (gr. IIIT)
Saturday, April 5     $500,000 Central Bank Ashland (gr. I )
Friday, April 11       $300,000 Maker's 46 Mile (gr. I)
Saturday, April 12   $175,000 Commonwealth (gr. III)
Saturday, April 12   $100,000 Shakertown (gr. IIT))
Saturday, April 12   $300,000 Madison (gr. I)
Saturday, April 12   $300,000 Jenny Wiley (gr. IT))
Saturday, April 12   $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I1)
Sunday, April 13     $200,000 Beaumont (gr. II) Presented by Keeneland Select
Thursday, April 17  $100,000 Applachian (gr. III)
Friday, April 18      $100,000 HIlliard Lyons Doubledogdare (gr. III)
Saturday, April 19  $150,000 Ben Ali (gr. III)
Saturday, April 19  $100,000 Giant's Causeway (L)
Saturday, April 19  $200,000 Coolmore Lexington (gr. III)
Thursday, April 24  $150,000 Bewitch (gr. IIT)
Friday, April 25      $250,000 Dixana Elkhorn (gr. IIT)