04/04/2017 12:12PM

McCraken draws post 2 for Blue Grass, made 7-5 morning-line favorite

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Tom Keyser
McCraken wins the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes on Feb. 11 in his most recent start.

A field of seven 3-year-olds has been entered for the Grade 2, $1 million Blue Grass Stakes, a critical Kentucky Derby prep race to be run Saturday as the annual spring showcase at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky.

McCraken, who closed as a lukewarm favorite in Pool 4 of the Derby Future Wager conducted last weekend by Churchill Downs, was assigned post 2 as the 7-5 morning-line favorite for the 1 1/8-mile Blue Grass. Among the other top contenders are Tapwrit (post 4, 5-2), Practical Joke (post 7, 7-2), and J Boys Echo (post 3, 4-1).

The Blue Grass is worth 170 qualifying points for the Derby, with 100 points to the winner. It goes as the 10th of 11 Saturday races. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern, with the Blue Grass going at 6:17. The race will be shown live on a two-hour broadcast on the NBC Sports Network (5:30-7:30), along with the Wood Memorial and Santa Anita Derby.

The Blue Grass was drawn at a media breakfast Tuesday, along with the Grade 1, $500,000 Ashland Stakes. Daddys Lil Darling is the 5-2 morning-line choice among a field of eight 3-year-old fillies in the 1 1/16-mile Ashland (race 9, post 5:40). The Ashland offers 170 qualifying points toward the May 5 Kentucky Oaks.

The Blue Grass and Ashland are two of five graded stakes to be run Saturday at Keeneland. The others are the Grade 1 Madison, the Grade 2 Shakertown, and the Grade 3 Commonwealth.

BLUE GRASS STAKES
1. It’s Your Nickel, J. Graham, 20-1
2. McCraken, B. Hernandez Jr., 7-5
3. J Boys Echo, R. Albarado, 4-1
4. Tapwrit, J. Ortiz, 5-2
5. Wild Shot, C. Lanerie, 15-1
6. Irap, J. Leparoux, 20-1
7. Practical Joke, J. Rosario, 7-2

ASHLAND STAKES
1. Someday Soon, J. Lezcano, 15-1
2. Elate, J. Ortiz, 7-2
3. Pretty City Dancer, J. Rosario, 7-2
4. Meanie Irene, J. Leparoux, 30-1
5. Summer Luck, F. Geroux, 4-1
6. Daddys Lil Darling, R. Albarado, 5-2
7. Sailor’s Valentine, C. Lanerie, 12-1
8. Tapped, D. Flores, 4-1