Thoughts about the 2013 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes

The $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland Race Course attracted an overflow field of 15 Kentucky Derby hopefuls. The Blue Grass is headed by Uncaptured (ranked No. 14 on the Road to the Kentucky Derby point standngs). It is just 21 days before the Kentucky Derby and many feel it is too close to be a Kentucky Derby prep race.

As part of the Second Leg of the Championship Series, points will be awarded to the Top 4 finishers on a 100 for first, 40 for second, 20 for third and 10 for fourth scale.

Here are a few notes about the entrants from a Churchill Downs press release:

Uncaptured, owned by 2001 Kentucky Derby winner John Oxley, won three stakes races in Canada as a juvenile prior to coming to Churchill Downs last fall to sweep the Iroquois and Kentucky Jockey Club. In his 3-year-old debut, Uncaptured finished second behind Black Onyx in the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park off a four-month layoff. With 30 points to his name, Uncaptured likely needs just a Top 4 finish to secure a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate.

The main rivals for Uncaptured include Palm Beach winner Rydilluc and Tampa Bay Derby runner-up Java’s War (No. 16).

Rydilluc, who has won his last three starts since switching to the turf, will race on a synthetic surface for the first time in the Blue Grass, which will be run over Keeneland’s Polytrack. With zero points, Rydilluc likely will need a Top 2 finish to earn a spot in the 2013 Kentucky Derby.

Java’s War, sixth behind Uncaptured in the Kentucky Jockey Club, finished second in the Tampa Bay Derby behind Verrazano, who won the Wood Memorial in his next start. With 22 points, Java’s War likely will need a Top 3 or 4 finish Saturday to stamp his ticket to Louisville.

Another horse to watch in the Blue Grass is Undrafted, who is owned by Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker. A late nominee to the 2013 Triple Crown, Undrafted will need a Top 2 finish to earn a spot in Kentucky Derby 139.

The Blue Grass has produced 23 winners of the Kentucky Derby, most recently Street Sense in 2007. The last to complete the Blue Grass–Derby double was Strike the Gold in 1991.