2017 Blue Grass Stakes Preview, Entries & Odds

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Dave Bond | OTB Writer

OffTrackBetting.com - The much anticipated G2 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes comes our way this Saturday, April 8 at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Kentucky. A purse of $1 million and 100-40-20-10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points will be up for grabs for three year olds willing to saddle up and go 1 1/8 miles on Keeneland's dirt track.

A strong field of seven will take to the track in the Blue Grass Stakes - race 10 on Keeneland's packed Saturday card. Post time is 6:17 PM. Here is a look into the past performances of all seven combatants for this lucrative and important G2 "Road to the Kentucky Derby" stakes.

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2017 Blue Grass Stakes Entries at Keeneland Racecourse

McCraken 7-5 - undefeated Ian Wilkes trained gelding has four career starts with four impressive wins. Last time out was in the G3 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay February 11 after wins by 1 1/4 lengths in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes November 26, by 3 3/4 lengths in the minor Street Sense Stakes October 30 and a maiden score at first asking October 2 - the last three at Churchill Downs. McCraken has been very impressive so far in his career, is firmly on the Derby radar and looks to remain unbeaten Saturday. He has looked very good in training heading into the weekend and will have Brian Joseph Hernandez aboard the morning line favorite from gate 2.

Tapwrit 5-2 - has three wins and a second place finish in five career starts for trainer Todd Pletcher. He debuted with a tenth and has been good in four starts since - a maiden score at Gulfstream Park West October 6 was followed by a nice win in his stakes debut- the $75,000 Pulpit Stakes at Gulfstream Park December 10 and a quality second behind McCracken at 9-1 odds in the G3 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay February 11. He posted a terrific win over McCraken last time out in the Tampa Bay Derby March 11. Tapwrit has been on a serious upward trajectory this winter, is now a favorite on the Derby Trail and will be out to keep a roll going Saturday with Jose Ortiz in the saddle of the morning line second choice from gate 4.

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Practical Joke 7-2 - Chad Brown trained colt has five career starts with three good wins and a third place finish. He won by five lengths as favorite in a six furlong maiden race at Saratoga August 6, he won the G1 Hopeful Stakes by a game neck on that track September 5 and posted victory in the G1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park October 8. Last time out was a respectable second in the G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park March 4 which followed a decent third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile November 5. Practical Joke has been a factor in every race so far in his career, has also looked sharp in works leading up to this weekend and should be a factor Saturday. Joel Rosario gets the call on the intriguing third betting choice from the outside post 7.

J Boys Echo 4-1 - will hit the track for the sixth time for trainer Dale Romans having posted two wins, a second and a third place finish so far. He stepped into stakes company for the first time three starts back and finished fourth in the G3 $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot November 19 and followed that with third in the G3 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct February 4 and a terrific 3 1/2 length win with a field-best 104 Beyer Speed Figure last time out in the G3 Gotham Stakes on that track March 4. He started his career with an impressive 5 1/2 length maiden score here October 2 and a second in his debut - at Churchill Downs October 2. J Boys Echo has been trending upward indeed and will be out to build on a terrific effort from post 3 with Robby Albarado guiding him.

Wild Shot 15-1 - has six career starts for trainer George Arnold and has hit the board in all but one - a win, two seconds and two third place finishes. His win came at Churchill Downs September 18 after a second at Ellis Park in his debut August 20. He has been decent in four graded stakes races since - a third last time out in the G2 Tampa Bay Derby March 11 followed a fourth in the G3 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay February 11, a second behind McCraken in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs November 26 and a third in the G1 Claiborne Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland October 8. Wild Shot has been knocking on the door of his first ever stakes win and will try to get that Saturday. Corey Lanerie has the mount from post 5.

It's Your Nickel 20-1 - has three wins in his four career starts for trainer Kenneth McPeek - all coming after a sixth in his debut in July. Last time out he made a successful stakes debut - a win in the minor John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park March 4 which followed wins in an Allowance Optional Claiming January 29 and a MSW at Saratoga in August. It's Your Nickel hasn't been touched the last eight months and will be after a fourth straight win against his biggest competition to date. James Graham has been tabbed to ride the up-and-comer from the rail.

Irap 20-1 - Doug O'Neill trained colt has three seconds and a third place finish in his seven career starts. He started his career with a third and a fourth respectively in a pair of MSW races and went on to a respectable runner-up finish in the G1 Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity December 10. He enters off a slightly disappointing fourth in the G3 Sunland Derby March 26 which followed consecutive runner-up finishes - behind Conquest Mo Money in the minor Mine That Bird Derby at Sunland Park February 26 and the G2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita February 4 and a fourth after tiring as 9-5 favorite in a MSW at Santa Anita December 31. Irap has been knocking on the door and will be after his first career win Saturday from gate 6 with Julien Leparoux in the reins.


2017 Blue Grass Stakes Odds & Entries

Race 10 on Keeneland's Saturday card with a Post Time of 6:17 PM.

Entry Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
1 It's Your Nickel 20-1 James Graham Kenneth McPeek
2 McCraken 7-5 Brian Hernandez, Jr. Ian Wilkes
3 J Boys Echo 4-1 Robby Albarado Dale Romans
4 Tapwrit 5-2 Jose Ortiz Todd Pletcher
5 Wild Shot 15-1 Corey Lanerie George Arnold, II
6 Irap 20-1 Julien Leparoux Doug O'Neill
7 Practical Joke 7-2 Joel Rosario Chad Brown

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