Gainesway Graduate Sierra Leone Wins Blue Grass (G1)

Gainesway-offered Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale topper Sierra Leone secured his spot in next month’s Kentucky Derby (G1) after a victory in Saturday’s Blue Grass Stakes (G1) at Keeneland.

Breaking from the widest post of all in the 1 1/8-mile Derby prep, Sierra Leone raced in second-to-last for much of the race as he settled comfortably under Tyler Gaffalione. It wasn’t until they entered the end of the backstretch that Sierra Leone started making a serious move, but he had plenty of work to do swinging into the stretch.

Sierra Leone showed a huge turn of foot in the stretch to fly past Just a Touch and win with his ears pricked with Gaffalione easing up on him once they secured the lead.


It was the second straight Kentucky Derby prep victory for Sierra Leone, who won the Risen Star Stakes (G2) for Peter Brant, the Coolmore partners, Westerberg, and Brook Smith last out. Sierra Leone was also second in the Remsen Stakes (G2) in his second start after winning on debut last November.

Purchased for $2.3 million by Brant and M.V. Magnier, Sierra Leone was one of three seven-figure yearlings for Gainesway at the sale. The consignment’s 10 sold averaged $732,500 with a gross of $7.325 million.

Gainesway also sold Sierra Leone’s half-brother for $250,000 last October at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale.