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Keeneland announces 2021 Spring Meet stakes schedule

2 February 2021

(PRESS RELEASE) -- Keeneland will present 18 stakes, featuring the 97th running of the $800,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G2) and the 84th running of the $400,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1), worth a total of $4.1 million during its 2021 Spring Meet from 2-23 April. The Toyota Blue Grass and the Central Bank Ashland are two nationally prominent classic preps.

Post time for the first race during the 15-day season will be 1:05 p.m. ET. Keeneland will be closed Easter Sunday, 4 April.

“Keeneland is excited to welcome racing back to the Bluegrass in April,” Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin said. “With the cancellation of last year’s Spring Meet because of the pandemic, it is critical to the Thoroughbred industry that we are able to offer our full slate of April stakes on their traditional dates. These races are key fixtures on the international racing calendar.

“For this year’s Spring Meet,” Arvin added, “Keeneland is working on plans for ticketing options under our COVID-19 safety protocols and we plan to make an announcement in the next few weeks.”

Keeneland will conduct a total of 10 stakes on grass and eight stakes on dirt while offering multiple stakes on four days during the Spring Meet.

Opening day, Friday, 2 April, features three stakes: $150,000 Kentucky Utilities Transylvania (G3), a 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-olds; $150,000 Beaumont (G3) Presented by Keeneland Select, at 7 furlongs, 184 feet, on dirt for 3-year-old fillies; and $100,000 Palisades Turf Sprint, for 3-year-olds going 5½ furlongs on the grass. The Beaumont is worth 17 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks, with the winner collecting 10 points.

The Toyota Blue Grass and Central Bank Ashland will be contested the following day, Saturday, 3 April, as part of a blockbuster card of six stakes. The Toyota Blue Grass, for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles, and the Central Bank Ashland, for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles, both are worth 170 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Road to the Kentucky Oaks, respectively. The winners of each stakes will earn 100 qualifying points to the respective races.

The early nomination deadline for the Toyota Blue Grass and Central Bank Ashland is 13 February. Late nominations are due 17 March.

Joining the Toyota Blue Grass and Central Bank Ashland on 3 April are the $300,000 Madison (G1), for older fillies and mares at 7 furlongs; $200,000 Appalachian (G2) Presented by Japan Racing Association for 3-year-old fillies at 1 mile on the grass; $200,000 Shakertown (G2), for 3-year-olds and up at 5½ furlongs on the turf; and $200,000 Commonwealth (G3), for older horses at 7 furlongs.

For the remainder of the Spring Meet, racing will be held Wednesday through Sunday.

Stakes action resumes Friday, 9 April, with the $300,000 Maker’s Mark Mile (G1), for 4-year-olds and up at 1 mile on turf, and the $100,000 TVG Limestone Turf Sprint for 3-year-old fillies going 5½ furlongs on the grass.

Saturday, 10 April, will present four stakes on a day highlighting the $300,000 Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1), a 1 1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares and the $200,000 Stonestreet Lexington (G3), for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles. One of the final preps on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, the Stonestreet Lexington awards 34 Derby qualifying points. The winner will earn 20 points.

The day’s other stakes are the $150,000 Ben Ali (G3), for older horses racing 1 1/8 miles, and the $100,000 Giant’s Causeway (L) a 5½-furlong turf race for fillies and mares.

Older horses will be showcased in three graded stakes during the final days of the season. The $100,000 Baird Doubledogdare (G3) for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles is set for Friday, 16 April. The $200,000 Elkhorn (G2), for older males at 1½ miles on the turf, is the following day.

The 23 April closing-day feature is the $150,000 Bewitch (G3), for fillies and mares racing 1½ miles on the turf.

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