A full gate of 14 three-year-olds likely will be the order of the day for the 89th running of the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes, the centerpiece of Keeneland's 16-day spring meet, to be run April 13.
With 170 points available in the Kentucky Derby Championship Series with 100 points going to the winner, the Blue Grass represents one of the final major steps toward the starting gate for the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 4. Second place is worth 40 points, with 20 for third and 10 for fourth.
Tops among the three-year-olds considering the Blue Grass at 1 1/8 miles on the Polytrack are Willis D. Horton's Will Take Charge and John Oxley's Uncaptured.
Trained by two-time Blue Grass winner D. Wayne Lukas, Will Take Charge broke his maiden at Keeneland last fall in his second start and this year has won the Smarty Jones and Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Will Take Charge has 60 Kentucky Derby points.
Uncaptured, winner of the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club and Grade 3 Iroquois last fall at Churchill Downs, finished second in his 2013 debut on March 23 in the Grade 3 Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park. A winner of six of eight career starts, Uncaptured is trained by Mark Casse.
Other horses considered as probable for the Blue Grass by Keeneland Racing Secretary Ben Huffman are Charming Kitten, trained by Todd Pletcher; Dewey Square (Dale Romans), Dynamic Sky (Casse), Falling Sky (John Terranova), Fear the Kitten (Mike Maker), Footbridge (Eoin Harty), Java's War (Ken McPeek), Noble Tune (Chad Brown), Reporting Star (Kathleen O'Connell), Rydilluc (Gary Contessa), Tesseron (Josie Carroll), Tiz a Minister (Paul Aguirre), Undrafted (Wesley Ward) and War Academy (Bob Baffert).
War Academy has also been mentioned as likely for the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, however, on the same day at Oaklawn Park, and Tiz a Minister is listed as a candidate for Saturday's Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby as well.
Pletcher revealed that Palace Malice could come right back for the Blue Grass after his troubled seventh in this past Saturday's Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, where he was blocked for much of the stretch. Blue Grass possibles also include Eton Blue (Nick Zito) and Mudflats (Doug O'Neill).
Rydilluc, winner of the Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park on March 3 in his most recent start, arrived at Keeneland Monday morning.
Entries for the Blue Grass will be taken April 10.