Blue Grass Stakes Betting Guide

Some of the leading contenders for the Kentucky Derby will be in action in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes. The race is an integral part of the build-up for runners in preparation for the Triple Crown race, and we could learn more about some of the contenders from this race.

Event Details

The Toyota Blue Grass Stakes is a race for three-year-old Thoroughbreds and is run over a distance of 1 1/8 miles. The left-handed circuit is built to test the horses, with $1 million in the prize purse for successful runners.


This race is a Grade II affair and will take place at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky, annually in April.

Toyota Blue Grass Stakes Predictions

A number of Triple Crown contenders will be in action for the race this year, which will ensure the attention of gamblers. The horses that will be competing for the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes in 2021 can be found below:


  • Essential Quality

  • Hidden Stash

  • Highly Motivated

  • Rombauer

  • Sittin On Go

  • Hush of a Storm

  • Keepmeinmind


There are no prizes for guessing who the outright favorite will be for the Blue Grass Stakes in 2021. Essential Quality, trained by Brad Cox, has an outstanding chance to further his claims for Triple Crown success with a win here. The three-year-old is already considered by many as a solid chance for the Kentucky Derby, and it’s hard to argue against that studying his form.


Essential Quality has won on all four previous starts and followed up Breeders’ Cup success last year with an excellent return to the track in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park in February.


Highly Motivated will likely be his main rival this weekend, but the Chad C Brown-trained horse will need to improve from his third in the Gotham Stakes last time out. Highly Motivated’s form in 2020 was excellent, as he won two from three, which highlights he still has potential. Hidden Stash for trainer Victoria Oliver will be an outsider for the Blue Grass Stakes after finishing second and third in her last two starts at Tampa Bay Downs. 

Rombauer has decent recent form, having recently won the El Camino Real Derby. However, he will have to improve further here to trouble the market leaders.


Sittin On Go hasn’t won in four starts and most recently finished seventh at Tampa Bay Downs in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby. Hush of a Storm and Keepmeinmind both still have entries for the Blue Grass Stakes but could opt to go elsewhere as a prep for the Kentucky Derby.

Toyota Blue Grass Stakes Information

The Blue Grass Stakes is currently known as the Toyota Blue Grass due to sponsorship reasons. It has been a common race on the Thoroughbred calendar since 1911 and was formerly given Grade I status after the introduction of grading in 1974. However, the Grading has been reduced to Grade II status since 2017.


Ever since the race was established, it has been an integral part of the build-up towards the Kentucky Derby. However, it was twice taken off the calendar. The most recent period that the Blue Grass Stakes wasn’t hosted was between 1926 and 1936. 

However, it was revived by the course in 1937. The race was formally part of the Keeneland-at-Churchill Downs and Churchill Downs meetings. However, nowadays, it forms part of the Keeneland program.


It is a perfect prep for the Kentucky Derby as it is run on the dirt surface. However, this wasn’t always the case. Between 2007 and 2014, it was run on the all-weather before it returned to the dirt track in 2015 when Carpe Diem claimed victory.


Art Collector for trainer Thomas Drury Jr won the race in 2020, which was the trainer’s first success in the Blue Grass Stakes. However, the three-year-old success at 1:48.11 was the quickest win since the race returned to the dirt. Todd Pletcher’s success with Carpe Diem was his fifth win as a trainer in this race, and he also saw him join Nick Zito, LeRoy Jolley, Woody Stephens, and Ben A. Jones for the most wins in this race.

How to Bet on the 2021 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes

Due to it being one of the biggest prep races before the Kentucky Derby, the race is an extremely popular one to bet on. All of the most popular markets are available to make wagers on, and you can learn more about them below:


  • Win: Making a wager on the outright winner of the race is the easiest bet to make. You will simply need your selection to cross the line first to get the returns.

  • Place: Place betting is most popular when there is a bigger field. However, you can put money on a selection finishing in a place position. The sportsbook will determine the places for the race.

  • Exacta: The Exacta market is the most difficult to make a wager on, as gamblers must correctly predict the horses to finish first and second in the correct order.


Before making a bet on the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, it is essential that you do the required research, which includes looking at form and previous course results.