Kentucky Derby 2022: Trail ends with vintage Tawny Port in the Lexington S.
Race 9: 1 1/16th (Dirt), Stonestreet Lexington Stakes (G3), Purse $400k, 3 (Saturday)
The final 2022 Kentucky Derby Trail race of the season is now in the books, and we all know what that means ... Number 148 is less than 3 weeks away. At Keeneland Racecourse, the picturesque track hosted the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes, which included "Points" at the rate of 20-8-4-2. An 11-horse field was set to go 1 1/16th on the Main Track, with $229,400 going to the connections that visit the winner's circle. Historically, the Lexington has been a competitive contest, but not one that has necessarily produced top Derby "finishers." As we always say this time of year ... we will see ...
As the week progressed, it was clear that Kelly Breen's In Due Time #2 (2/1) would take significant money based on his form coming into Central Kentucky. Other popular choices included Brad Cox's Tawny Port #9 (5/1), Todd Pletcher's Major General #7 (7/1), and Keith Desormeaux's Call Me Midnight #11 (8/1), that would all be fairly active selections on the tote. Fair skies and a fast track, plus a WPS Pool that ended up brimming at $1.4 million, certainly made the betting opportunities plentiful. A trip to the Derby was on the line ... At the break, it was expert rider Irad Ortiz who took his mount, Major General #7 to the lead. It was clear that he wanted to try and control the fractions upfront. Securing and holding that position would be 2 very different things though, especially since the field included some powerful late speed. Heading down the backstretch, Dallas Stewart's Strava #8 (ridden by Tyler Gaffalione) tried to join the frontrunner, but around the second turn, the "race shape" began to morph into something entirely different.
Ranging up along the 3-4 path was Florent Geroux aboard Cox's Tawny Port #9. The colt was exhibiting that late kick, which he had tried to employ just a few weeks before in the Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park. That day, he did not have the gears to catch Kenny McPeek's Tiz the Bomb. This time would be a fresh take ... as the son of Pioneerof the Nile, bred by WinStar Farm and owned by Peachtree Stable, had come to play. With the crowd abuzz, and the lane opening up, Tawny Port #9 rolled past Major General #7, who was quickly trying to do everything he could to hold 2nd. Up the rail came a belated charge from the favorite, In Due Time #2, but Paco Lopez's body language did not engender much confidence in bettors who would claim later that he did not exploit his positioning well enough. In the blink of an eye, the wire arrived in the short stretch ... the Lexington Stakes was over ... Cox and Geroux could declare the win, the "Points," and the purse, as Tawny Port #9 would have the chance to celebrate out on the Haggin Turf Course.
The score for Cox means that he could potentially have 3 Kentucky Derby horses (along with Cyberknife and Zozos) entered in the Starting Gate on Saturday May 7th at Churchill Downs, his home track. That is ... "if" the Peachtree folks decide to wheel their colt back after 3 weeks (60 "Points" total). It is unlikely he will enter, but you never know when "Derby Fever" is present. As for the remaining "Points," it was Pletcher's Major General #7 (KYD "Points" now @18) that "Placed"; In Due Time #2 (w/24) that "Showed"; and finally, D.W. Lukas' Ethereal Road #4 (w/22), that was 4th. Now, the waiting game, the workout phase, and the shuffling begins, as we point towards the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby!
Here are the Payouts ...
|Results||Horse - Win / Place / Show|
|1st||Tawny Port #9 ... $12.20 / $6.40 / $3.80|
|2nd||Major General #7 ... $7.60 / $4.80|
|3rd||In Due Time #2 ... $2.80|
** BE SURE TO JOIN US EVERY STEP OF THE WAY AS WE HELP PREPARE YOU FOR THE 148TH RUNNING OF THE KENTUCKY DERBY ...
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