The Road to the Kentucky Derby takes another turn this weekend, as there are three Grade 1s boasting huge qualifying points taking place across the United States.

The most fascinating contest could come in the form of the G1 Blue Grass Stakes, which sees runners bring in different form lines from other prep races. You can find out more about the race, and learn more about the leading contenders here.


Information & Records

The G1 Blue Grass Stakes has been staged annually since 1911 at Keeneland, with a purse of $1 million up for grabs. It is run over a distance of 1 1/8 miles, and it has been a Grade One contest since being upgraded in 2022. This race has produced some excellent winners in recent years, but there has been no victor to have followed up in the Kentucky Derby in over 20 years.

But, the Blue Grass is typically won by a talented runner, highlighted by the fact that recent victors include Essential Quality, Art Collector, and Good Magic. Todd Pletcher leads the way in terms of training victories with four successes, meanwhile Bill Shoemaker is the leading jockey with six wins.

Blue Grass Stakes Leading Contenders

Sierra Leone

Chad Brown will hold the likely favorite in this field, with Sierra Leone looking to continue his excellent recent form on track. The three-year-old was narrowly beaten by Dornoch in very testing conditions in the G2 Remsen last year, but he return with a stunning effort to get the better of Track Phantom by just under a length in the G2 Risen Star.

Sierra Leone will need to reverse the form with his re-appearing rival, but that could be extremely likely on more favorable track conditions for the Brown runner.


Dornoch is the runner for trainer Danny Gargan this weekend, and it could be argued that his chances in this race are being considerably overlooked. He has already got the better of Sierra Leone, beating his re-appearing rival by a nose in the G2 Remsen in December.

However, he showcased his quality on a quicker surface when he was last in action, streaming clear of the field to beat Le Dom Bro by just under two lengths in the G2 Fountain of Youth. Remains extremely high on the shortlist, and he could emerge as a top choice for the Derby with a victory this weekend.

Just A Touch

Brad Cox also has a runner in the race this weekend, with Florent Geroux taking the ride on Just A Touch. The three-year-old was excellent on his racecourse debut at Fair Grounds in late January, landing victory with a speed figure of 100.

He made the step into stakes company early last month, and was far from disgraced when finishing second to Deterministic in the G3 Gotham Stakes. He is very interesting now up in trip, and that could see him play a key role.

Blue Grass Stakes Prediction

The top three in the betting this weekend set the standard, and cases can be made for the trio. However, we are happy to side with Sierra Leone, who looks great value to reverse the form with Dornoch and claim victory this weekend to emerge as a leading Derby contender.

Pick: Sierra Leone (at BetDSI)