Lexington Stakes, the final Kentucky Derby 150 prep

Michael Clevenger/Courier Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK
The final prep race on the Road To The Kentucky Derby is upon us.

LEXINGTON, KY. — The Grade 3 Lexington is upon us – the final prep race on the Road To The Kentucky Derby.  It’s a lesser prep, in that it is worth fewer points than other races to qualify for the Derby starting gate.

A few trainers and owners have decided to put their horses in this field, in a clear attempt to get a spot in the Kentucky Derby.  We went over these scenarios a few days ago, along with an introduction to the full list of Derby contenders here.  Essentially, they look like this:

  1. If 5 Hades wins, he’s in the Derby starting gate.
  2. If 8 Encino wins, he moves to the top of the Also Eligible list, and likely draws into the field.
  3. If 9 Liberal Arts wins, he also moves into a good spot on the Also Eligible list.
  4. If any other horse wins, No More Time stays in the field, and Grand Mo The First stays atop the Also Eligible list.


Hades showed his best form in the Grade 3 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park.  In that race, he went to the front and never looked back.  My sense, given the pace scenarios in this race, is that they’ll try to replicate that race.  Given that the race is run with a shorter stretch at Keeneland, he may well be able to do just that.


Encino will likely try to sit just off the pace – meaning he’ll be running in a spot between second and fifth place, waiting to try to overtake the leaders as they tire after setting the pace.  The good news for him: both 5 Hades and 10 Lucky Jeremy will both try to get the lead, and create some pace to run at.


I feel considerably less confident in 9 Liberal Arts’ ability to win this particular race.  Given the fact that Keeneland’s short stretch is being used in this race.  He really needs a lot to run at, and I don’t see him doing that.  Look for jockey Irad Ortiz to try to stay closer to the front in this one – we’ll see if it works.


I’ll take the outside horse 10 Lucky Jeremy on top.  He ran a good third in the Sunland Derby; the winner of that race, Stronghold, went on to win the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby.  He’s also one of the early speed threats in this race, and so the outside post affects him less.  Look for him to try to be the early – and winning – speed.  I love the 8/1 price, too, and I think we’ll get every bit of that on Saturday.


We’ll play a pick 3 bet around this race – we will try to pick the winner of three straight races.  We’ll start race 8, and end with the Lexington, race 10:

$1 PICK 3

Race 8 2, 5, 7

Race 9 5, 6, 9

Race 10 2, 8, 10 $1 base bet = $27.  Good luck!