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Blue Grass Stakes 2023: Morning line odds, picks and predictions for Kentucky Derby preview

Keeneland plays host to a key race in the battle for a Kentucky Derby berth. We break down the details for the Blue Grass Stakes.

Syndication: Asbury Park Press Michael Clevenger/Courier Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK / USA TODAY NETWORK

The 2023 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes will be held Saturday, April 8 from Keeneland Park in Lexington, Kentucky. The 1 1/8-mile course will be held on a dirt track and is a Grade 1 prep race for the Kentucky Derby. Zandon was the winner in 2002.

It’s been a while since a Blue Grass Stakes winner has also won the Kentucky Derby. The most famous thoroughbred to do it was Spectacular Bid in 1979, who want on to win the Derby and the Preakness Stakes. Alydar won the race in 1978 only to finish second in all three Triple Crown races to Affirmed. The last Blue Grass winner to also win the Kentucky Derby was Strike the Gold in 1991.

Other notable winners include Menifee in 1999, who went on to finish second at the Derby and the Preakness that year and Essential Quality in 2021, who went on to win the Belmont Stakes.

Tapit Trice is the morning-line favorite at 5-2, but drew the rail and will have to fight to get into a comfortable position. Trainer Todd Pletcher strategically kept Tapit Trice out of the Florida Derby and to a track at which he thinks the colt will be more comfortable. Tapit Trice is expected to be one of the Derby favorites with Forte, so winning here is essential.

Classic Car Wash is going to set the pace early while Tapit Trice tries to find a lane off the rail to press the action. Verifying is certainly worth watching, especially if its in the lead at the 1/2-mile mark. Most tickets will have the 1-4 in some form on their ticket with a slight lean to Tapit Trice to take the it at the line. Sun Thunder has been very competitive in recent races and certainly deserves some consideration as a sleeper.

2023 Blue Grass Stakes post positions with morning line

  1. Tapit Trice (5-2)
  2. Clear the Air (30-1)
  3. Verifying (3-1)
  4. Classic Car Wash (12-1)
  5. Hayes Strike (15-1)
  6. Scoobie Quando (15-1)
  7. Sun Thunder (10-1)
  8. Blazing Sevems (6-1)
  9. Major Blue (30-1)
  10. Raise Cain (9-2)
  11. Mendelssohns March (20-1)