Lexington Stakes 2022 Entries: Keeneland hosts the final KYD148 prep on April 16

Keeneland has the honor of hosting the final Kentucky Derby 'Prep' race of the 2022 Season ... Check out this Guide, and see who will be competing for those 'Points.' KYD148 ... it is almost here!
Keeneland has the honor of hosting the final Kentucky Derby "Prep" race of the 2022 Season ... Check out this Guide, and see who will be competing for those "Points." KYD148 ... it is almost here!

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Race 9: 1 1/16th (Dirt), Stonestreet Lexington Stakes (G3), Purse $400k, 3 (Saturday)

The Grade III Lexington Stakes is the last gasp for the Kentucky Derby Prep Trail. Up for the taking are Points that include, 20 for the “Winner,” 8 for the “Place” horse, 4 for the “Show” runner, and a measly 2 for the entry who rounds out the “Super.” In the past, this race has served as the playground for some quality route runners (though, few have started in the KYD) … including the likes of Derby Kitten, Winning Cause, Divining Rod, Collected, Senior Investment, My Boy Jack, Owendale, and last year’s champ, Kenny McPeek’s King Fury. Whoever scores in this contest can add to their Derby pile. Most will be looking just to hit the board. Whatever the case, it should be a blast, as another Keeneland Saturday arrives in-style!

Now, let’s find out about this field…

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#1 Midnight Chrome (Jky: J. Ortiz/Trn: J. Servis):

Trainer John Servis does not cross over from PA into KY all that often, but he sends this son of California Chrome to the Bluegrass State with hopes for a victory. An alum of the now-well-regarded Remsen S. (G2), this 3-yr-old is going to have to come up with his best effort, if he wants to garner any KYD tokens. Luckily for Alexandria Stable, they were able to secure Jose Ortiz. Maybe he can take a runner who has 3 “Shows” in-a-row, and trade those in for a victory. I am not so sure …

Grade: C+

 

#2 In Due Time (Jky: P. Lopez/Trn: K. Breen):

Some were probably wondering when this colt by Not This Time was going to make it back to the track … The last time we saw Kelly Breen’s 3-yr-old was in the Fountain of Youth S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park over a month ago. That was a strong performance, ending up 2nd to Simplification. The plan to skip the Florida Derby, and point to this race might end up being a solid play. The question of sharpness comes up, but Breen looks as though he considers this a “live” event. Regular rider Paco Lopez makes the trip to Lexington, a place that he doesn’t venture often. This sire has made quite a splash this Derby Season, and I consider this one to be an interesting pick worth considering.

Grade: B

 

#3 We All See It (Jky: L. Saez/Trn: E. Kenneally):

Conditioner Eddie Kenneally has a long history of running at Keeneland, and it would be great to see another one of his runners hit the big time (Bushfire, my all-time fave). This particular colt by Street Sense has bumped around the OC ranks at both the Fair Grounds and Oaklawn Park … mixed results. His last race (OC50kn1nx) was actually his best with Deshawn Parker aboard. Making the rider switch to Luis Saez is an upgrade, and there is no question that this horse comes into Keeneland in top form. But does that form equal his rivals? That’s the key question, and we will not know until the Lex is done … Hard to back a colt like this, but Saez has ridden some good ones that were higher odds in the not too distant past.

Grade: B-

 

#4 Ethereal Road (Jky: V. Espinoza/Trn: D.W. Lukas):

Are there raised eyebrows? A snicker perhaps? Or dare we say a frown? Legendary D.W. Lukas has decided to runback his son of Quality Road, and I am sure there are some pundits that do not agree. This is a 3-yr-old … by-the-way … that just ran last week in the Blue Grass S. (G2). He was a beaten 7th in that event, and I was disappointed that he did not acquit himself all that well. That comment is especially applied with some mustard when we consider that the colt was 2nd to Un Ojo in the Rebel S. (G2) at Oaklawn. Lukas has shed his rider, Luis Contreras, and is now going with a jockey that knows a thing or two about a big race—Victor Espinoza. I am inclined to the furrowed brow … I do not think this is a particularly good idea, and I do not mind publicly disagreeing with the “Coach.” I will say this … I doubt his entry will hit-the-board … I am off …

Grade: C

 

#5 Howling Time (Jky: J. Talamo/Trn: D. Romans):

The travails of Dale Romans continue … I am speaking specifically of his “numbers.” He used to be one of the titans of the Derby Trail, and now he just seems to wash up. I am not sure how good this colt by Not This Time is for the Albaugh Family Stables. As a 2-yr-old he won his 1st pair of races in late-running style. That victory in the Street Sense $200k was brilliant, in fact. But the tough Jockey Club (G2) and the FOY (G2) showed regression. Regular rider Joe Talamo gets the call for Romans, but I do not see him making much of an impact. Another entry that will be lucky to be in-the-money.

Grade: C+

 

#6 Skate to Heaven (Jky: D. Cohen/Trn: R. Diodoro):

Here is a young Laoban colt owned partly by one of Robertino Diodoro’s major clients … Cypress Creek Equine. The gelding really broke through at Oaklawn in a MSW90k last month, breaking his maiden after 3 prior starts. That probably qualifies as a late-bloomer, but it could not have come at a better time … Diodoro likes to use David Cohen in all sorts of situations, and he sends him to KEE with the hopes of the connections. With a couple of basic works under his saddle, the colt could be a “wise guy” pick, as he is certainly headed in the proper direction when it comes to class. I will probably be using this one underneath …

Grade: B-

 

#7 Major General (Jky: I. Ortiz/Trn: T. Pletcher):

The horses drawn to the outside are infinitely more interesting than the ones to the inside. Quite a few bettors were anxious to back this son of Constitution that is trained by HOF Todd Pletcher in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2). To put it quite bluntly … he didn’t run. Oh, he was on the track … but he was dead last … ending up 25-lengths behind Classic Causeway. It is safe to say that recalibration was needed. It is tough to trust a runner like this one, even when his conditioner is famous. When colts move from 2 to 3, it is difficult to gauge how they will do 6-7 months later. Certainly his 1st pair of contests back in ’21 were impressive, but he is going to have to do much better this time around for WinStar and Siena Farm. That price tag of his … $420k … just boggles the mind, if he doesn’t produce. With “Blinks” and a new rider, Irad Ortiz, maybe this colt can turn over a new leaf. We shall see …   

Grade: B-

 

#8 Strava (Jky: T. Gaffalione/Trn: D. Stewart):

This could potentially be a top pick for me come Saturday, and I certainly enjoy betting on Dallas Stewart runners. He was 3rd in this race last year, and might have a very strong chance of sealing the victory in ’22. A well-bred son of Into Mischief, Stewart debuted this one at Keeneland back in October. He won from off-the-pace that day, and then after a break, ran in a couple of OC50kn1x races at his conditioner’s base at the Fair Grounds. Considering that he stumbled out of the gate in the 1st one, then broke through the gate early in the 2nd one, you would think that those problems are behind them. Despite this kind of trouble, he still ended both of those races with aplomb. Remember in that 19 Feb. contest, he was up against Brad Cox’s Cyberknife. I have come to respect Stewart’s ability to solve issues, and I am sure that the decision to go with Tyler Gaffalione again is the right one. Mischiefs … they win … at $825k (what this colt sold for) you would think they would have a shot, right?

Grade: A-

 

#9 Tawny Port (Jky: F. Geroux/Trn: B. Cox):

The 2nd Place runner behind Kenny McPeek’s Tiz the Bomb in the Jeff Ruby S. (G3) was this son of Pioneerof the Nile that once cost Peachtree Stable $430k. Going back a race to the Risen Star (G2) at the Fair Grounds, I think Cox was being honest when he said that he did not know how this one was going to run. Ending up 5th was respectable at 24/1, and the move to Turfway Park was a solid strategic play. Maybe this 3-yr-old can take both of those experiences, and put them to use on a track that Cox has frankly dominated … especially in major stakes competition over these past few years. I would not be surprised if Florent Geroux took this runner across the wire 1st, but it is going to take a major effort. How will he handle the surface switch? I am sure his 2-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer is prepared.

Grade: B+

 

#10 Dash Attack (Jky: F. Prat/Trn: K. McPeek):

It would not be a Lexington S. without local man Kenny McPeek and one of his entries. This colt, partly-owned by his own outfit (Magdalena Racing), tried to route through the Oaklawn Series. He did well by winning the Smarty Jones $250k, but fell flat in the Southwest S. (G3) and the Rebel S. (G2). Skipping the Arkansas Derby (G1), McPeek opted to bring him “home,” and see if that would do some good. I liked his efforts this spring, and he is a good horse. The addition of Flavien Prat is an intriguing move, but it may not be enough to ensure the victory. He might be one to consider underneath, but I have a hard time seeing him winning. That “Smarty” victory in the slop was a dream trip going 1 mile … another major test has arrived.

Grade: B-

 

#11 Call Me Midnight (Jky: J. Graham/Trn: K. Desormeaux):

What a Fair Grounds Meet that James Graham just turned in! He just keeps going and going and going … He was always one of my favorite jockeys at Keeneland, and he climbs aboard a colt by Midnight Lute that sure kicked up some chatter just before the Louisiana Derby (G2) last month. That’s because Graham rode Keith Desormeaux’s 3-yr-old to victory in the Grade 3 Lecomte S. He is the only one to actually beat Steve Asmussen’s Epicenter (probably the Derby favorite) this year. In LA’s version of the “First Saturday in May,” the trainer watched as a slow beginning led his entry to get shuffled back … he never recovered as Epicenter turned the race into a merry-go-round. Now, coming to Keeneland, the squad is hoping to gain the “Points” and experience to get them to the actual Derby … KYD148. It could happen … this is Graham after all … How will this colt respond? Like he did late in the Lecomte, winning at the wire? Or with little response when it was needed in the Louisiana Derby? Which horse will show? Not sure …

Grade: B

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Join us for all of our Saturday Keeneland selections! Should be a great set of races from the gem of Central Kentucky racing! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter … Horseracing_USA !!!

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