THOROUGHBRED CLASSICS: THE BLUE GRASS STAKES
Keeneland is unique and lives by its motto: racing as it was meant to be...the primary reason being that it was founded and has been run by horsemen throughout its 64-year history. The founders were all primarily interested in the welfare and well-being of the horse, the safety of the race track, the ambience of the whole facility, and the barn areas all directed toward the comfort of the horse.
The first race at the present Keeneland course was run in October of 1936 and what Keeneland has become offering racing's richest daily purses, more than $600,000...no one could've imagined. WHIRLAWAY was the first Blue Grass winner to go on and win a classic race when he swept the Triple Crown in 1941, SHUT OUT scored the Blue Grass/Derby double the very next year, and TOMY LEE won the 1959 Blue Grass on his way to winning the roses (SEE RARE FOOTAGE OF ALL THREE RACES).
The Blue Grass came into prominence in the late 50's and during about a 14-year period at that time, there were nine horses that ran in the Blue Grass Stakes and went on to win the Derby - it firmly established it as the most important prep race for the Derby.
The decades of the 1960's and 1970's produced winners of 19 different Triple Crown races; the 1960's produced six Derby winners including rare film footage of NORTHERN DANCER's win.
The 1970's would start with a real shock as longshot, DUST COMMANDER, pulled the Blue Grass/Derby upset with footage of his five-length Derby win.
ALYDAR was the star of the East and the darling of Kentucky in the Spring of 1978; he came to Keeneland for the Blue Grass Stakes on a three-race winning streak including the Florida Derby and Flamingo....he was coming home to the farm where he was bred...the famed Calumet located right next door to Keeneland and it was to be a very special homecoming. Due to advanced age and ill health, ALYDAR's owners and breeders had never seen ALYDAR run, in fact they hadn't seen any of their horses run in recent years at the track and ALYDAR was the favorite for that year's Blue Grass Stakes. His breeders accepted an invitation from Keeneland to watch the race and a car was sent over to fetch them; in a touching scene moments before the race, the car was directly driven to the track rail and JORGE VELAZQUEZ, ALYDAR's regular rider, trotted ALYDAR right out of the post-parade to greet them. THIS ENTIRE TREASURED MOMENT IS SHOWN. The 1979 Blue Grass Stakes saw another dominating performance with SPECTACULAR BID romping to a 7-length win on his way to winning that year's Derby and Preakness.
ROCKHILL NATIVE is next shown from 1980, LINKAGE in 1982, ALYSHEBA'S win which was disqualified to third place in 1987, SUMMER SQUALL in 1990 featuring UNBRIDLED, HOLY BULL in 1994, SKIP AWAY in 1996, PULPIT in 1997 and MENIFEE in 1998.
A terrific piece on historic Keeneland and its showpiece race, the Blue Grass Stakes.
|Format(s) Available:||DVD And VHS|
|Category:||U.S. & Canadian Flat Racing|