The 2017 Blue Grass Stakes will take place this evening from Keeneland racecourse in Lexington, Kentucky. The best horses in the U.S. will once again toe-to-toe battle it out for a chance at earning a spot in the 2017 Kentucky Derby. After last week’s thrilling Florida Derby, which saw Always Dreaming run away from the field down the stretch for the big win, this week all eyes will be on the heavy favorite McCracken.
Kentucky.com indicates that while McCracken’s trainer Ian Wilkes doesn’t mind that his horse is the early favorite for the 93rd running of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes this evening, and almost a shoe-in for this year’s Kentucky Derby, he just wants to focus on one day at a time – and enjoy the ride!
“It’s better to be that than not in there,” Wilkes said. “You’ve got to enjoy it and have a good time. You can’t get too caught up in the situation. You’ve just got to let it happen and don’t put too much pressure on the horse.”
McCraken comes into the 2017 thoroughbred season with the proverbial bullseye on his back. The Blue Grass Stakes favorite has recently ranked No. 1 as the latest National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NRTA) top 3-year-old. On top of that, McCracken is the slight favorite in the Kentucky Derby Futures Pool. In other words, McCracken is the Bryce Harper of horse racing right now, the expectations are high and the sky is the limit!
While McCracken is the horse to beat at the Blue Grass Stakes, Tapwrit could be just the horse to do so. Tapwrit finished second to McCraken in the Sam F. Davis Stakes and with 54 derby points earned, the Todd Pletcher-trained colt is pretty much a lock for his placement at Churchill Downs in May, however, a win or at least a top four finish, would sew up Tapwrit’s Kentucky Derby bid.
Pletcher’s assistant, Ginny Pasquale, believes that this may be the last time Tapwit runs before the Kentucky Derby.
“I think Todd just wants to get him one more race before the Derby just to keep him mentally fit and physically fit,” Pasquale said. “I think he’s maturing mentally … He’s settled in very nicely. I was very pleased. He’s made himself right at home here (at Keeneland).”
The Blue Grass Stakes is one of the major prep races for the upcoming Kentucky Derby and some serious points will be up for grabs once again for the top four horses that cross the finish line. The breakdown for the Blue Grass Stakes will have 170 points up for grabs today, and the point distribution will take place this way: The winner will get 100 points, second place will receive 40 points, third place pulls in 20 points while the fourth place finisher will grab the final 10 points on the board.
Last year Brody’s Cause claimed the highly sought after 100 points on his way to a Kentucky Derby berth. Who will follow suit this year?
Fans can catch all of the Blue Grass Stakes action live nationally through the NBC Sports Network and TVG. If you are on the go, you can also watch the big race streaming live online through your tablet or cell phone by downloading the NBC Sports App. If you can’t catch the Blue Grass Stakes live, be sure to check back here for the results as they will be posted in the comments section below.
Here is a look at the complete field, post positions, and current odds to win the 2017 Blue Grass Stakes. Post time is set for 6:40 p.m. ET.
Blue Grass Stakes 2017 Post Positions and Odds
- It’s Your Nickel, Kenny McPeek, James Graham, 20-1
- McCraken, Ian Wilkes, Brian Hernandez Jr., 7-5
- J Boys Echo, Dale Romans, Robby Albarado, 4-1
- Tapwrit, Todd Pletcher, Jose Ortiz, 5-2
- Wild Shot, Rusty Arnold, Corey Lanerie, 15-1
- Irap, Doug O’Neill, Julien Leparoux, 20-1
- Practical Joke, Chad Brown, Joel Rosario, 7-2
Previous Blue Grass Stakes Winners
- 2016 Brody’s Cause
- 2015 Carpe Diem
- 2014 Dance With Fate
- 2013 Java’s War
[Featured Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]