Keeneland spring meet opens Thursday for 1st time since 1959

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Keeneland’s spring meet opens on a Thursday for the first time in 60 years and kicks off 16 racing days with 18 stakes races worth a season-record $4.6 million.

Opening weekend features nine graded stakes races, highlighted by the $1 million Grade 2 Blue Grass and $500,000 Grade 1 Ashland for fillies on Saturday. The prep races for the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs will award 170 total points to the top four finishers.

Eclipse Award-winning filly Jaywalk is the 8-5 favorite for the 82nd Ashland. Vekoma is the 9-5 choice in the 95th Blue Grass.

The inaugural $100,000 Palisades Turf Sprint covering 5 1/2 furlongs highlights Thursday’s opening day card. Keeneland’s other new stakes race is the $100,000 Limestone Turf Sprint on April 12.