Recent trends in the Blue Grass Stakes

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April 4th, 2022

With a purse of $1 million, the Blue Grass (G1) is the richest of the three Kentucky Derby (G1) preps that will be held this coming Saturday. Here are several things worth noting about the 1 1/8-mile Keeneland fixture since 2010.

Form has held up strongly the last four years

Bettors have been spot-on of late when it comes to prognosticating the Blue Grass. The top two betting choices have finished one-two in the last four runnings dating back to 2018, with Art Collector's victory in the pandemic-delayed 2020 renewal the only time the post-time favorite was upended.

Favorites and/or single-digit-priced horses have fared much better since the Blue Grass returned to dirt in 2015 following an eight-year stint on Polytrack. The only double-digit winner during this time was Irap (2017), who shocked at 31-1.

You want to rate fairly close

The old Polytrack was very kind to closers, but since the Blue Grass returned to dirt, positional speed has been much more important. That's no surprise for folks who remember the speed-favoring nature of the Keeneland strip in the pre-synthetic era.

Since returning to dirt, the only Blue Grass winner to have rallied from far back was Brody's Cause (2016). Champion juvenile Good Magic (2018) rallied from fifth, about four lengths off the lead. The other five winners during the span were no worse than one length off the lead at the first call.

Last-out winners have struggled

Since 2010, only three horses won the Blue Grass having won their last start. One of those was the aforementioned Art Collector, who had the benefit of a couple allowance wins at Churchill Downs prior to the July renewal.

At its normally scheduled time, only Tampa Bay Derby (G2) hero Carpe Diem (2015) and champion Essential Quality (2021), who captured his season debut in the Southwest (G3), have maintained a winning streak in the Blue Grass.