Derby Prep Alert
Derby Prep Alert

April 18, 2014Sponsored by BRIS, our Preferred Past Performance Provider

Sponsored by BRIS, our Preferred Past Performance Provider

As we approach the final Kentucky Derby point-scoring weekend, one thing is certain: it’s “œone of those years.” What kind of year is that? The kind of year in which there’s no big rivalry (Street Sense versus Hard Spun) or horse that everyone has been invested in as a favorite for weeks on end (Big Brown). The upside? The real truth of the Kentucky Derby is even more pronounced: anything can happen!

Florida Derby winner Constitution being declared out on Wednesday due to a hairline fracture is a good reminder that even though the races are over, there can still be plenty of movement over the next few weeks; horses that look like a lock might be out, and horses on the outside looking in may well find themselves in the starting gate. (Update: Cairo Prince out of the Derby with an injury)

Here are some Twitter accounts to help keep track of up-to-the minute Derby news, such as jockey assignments, workouts and decisions to run or not.

@DerbyMedia – the official Churchill Downs media account
@DRFDerby – coverage from the Daily Racing Form
@trifectabox – our very own J.J. Hysell, who vociferously tracks all things Derby

Our next mailing will be on Friday, May 2, the day of the Kentucky Oaks. In the meantime, we’ll have our usual host of Derby-related content, such as information about entrants’ running styles and pedigree, as well as statistical and history information. Be sure to check back often!

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News About the Contenders
Blood-Horse: Rosalind Works Toward Kentucky Oaks New
Blood-Horse: My Miss Sophia, Got Lucky Breeze at Churchill New
Blood-Horse: Vicar’s in Trouble Turns in Derby Work New
Blood-Horse: Midnight Hawk Brings Illinois Derby Intrigue
Blood-Horse: One for the Roses: Cairo Prince
Blood-Horse: Bejarano Picks Up Derby Mount on Wildcat Red
Blood-Horse: Blue Grass Runner-Up Medal Count Derby Bound
Blood-Horse: Derby Dozen – April 14, 2014 – Presented by Shadwell Farm
Blood-Horse: Kentucky Oaks Name Game: 2014 Edition
Blood-Horse: Anderson Seeks Sweet Victory With Sugar Shock
Blood-Horse: Oaks Hopeful Awesome Baby Works
Brisnet: Wildcat Red, Intense Holiday, We Miss Artie put in final Florida works
Brisnet: ‘Fate’ could give Nakatani first Derby win; White announces his Derby odds New
Brisnet: Untapable breezes under the Twin Spires for Oaks New
Brisnet: Cairo Prince to miss Derby with ankle injury New
Brisnet: Samraat, Uncle Sigh turn in works at Belmont New
Brisnet: Dance With Fate confirmed for Derby New
Brisnet: Commanding Curve, Unbridled Forever breeze in hopes of making Derby, Oaks New
Brisnet: Ami’s Holiday to pass Derby even with Lexington win New
Brisnet: Wicked Strong breezes half-mile at Belmont
Brisnet: Constitution out of Derby
Brisnet: Shared Belief returns to worktab
Brisnet: Social Inclusion turns in three-furlong breeze
Brisnet: Derby hopefuls put in works at Palm Meadows
DRF: Bond Holder loses battle with laminitis New
DRF: Ankle injury puts Cairo Prince out of Kentucky Derby New
DRF: Kentucky Oaks: Full field of 14 expected
DRF: Allen Jerkens enjoying son’s Kentucky Derby run
DRF: Kentucky Derby: Who’s hot, who’s not for April 16
DRF: Santana to ride Tapiture if horse goes in Kentucky Derby
DRF: Kentucky Derby starting odds are in Uncle Sigh’s favor

Lexington Stakes Kentucky Derby prep race
Keeneland, Saturday April 19, post time: 5:13 ET
1 1/16 miles (8.5 furlongs), synthetic surface

It isn’t likely to have an impact on the Kentucky Derby lineup, but Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland – which offers 10 Derby points to the winner – is an appealing wagering event.

Ami’s Holiday is the lone entrant in the 11-horse field who has Derby points (10).

Trainer Todd Pletcher, who has won this race five times, has entered a talented trio of colts in the 1 1/16 miles test. All three have qualities that make them top contenders. Divine Oath, who didn’t make it into the full Blue Grass Stakes field last Saturday, is 2 for 2 on the Gulfstream Park turf and is coming off a two-month layoff. He didn’t have it easy in his last outing when he broke from post 10 in a field of 11, yet he managed to rally late for the win. The stretch-out shouldn’t be an issue with his stalking running style and his pedigree. He’s by multiple graded stakes winner Broken Vow, who won consistently at 9 furlongs. The lone question for this colt is how he will handle the surface switch. He had a 4-furlong work over the track in preparation on April 13.

Pletcher also has Supermonic, who is returning off a front-running allowance romp at Keeneland on Sunday, and Global Strike SCRATCHED, who is making his first start on synthetic. Global Strike is by Smart Strike, who ranks second on the all-time synthetic surfaces list. It’s also interesting to note that New York-based jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., gets the call on Global Strike.

Trainer Mark Casse is having an outstanding meet so far and has an upset candidate in Dynamic Impact SCRATCHED. The colt ran well in his lone start over the surface with a second-place finish in a maiden route race in October. He showed marked improvement in his most recent race, winning from off the pace to break his maiden at Oaklawn. Although he doesn’t match the class level of his foes, he appears to be heading in the right direction. A bullet 5-furlong work over the surface on April 12 adds to the appeal.

Mr. Speaker, who will break from the rail for trainer Shug McGaughey, has been stellar on turf, including a win in the Grade 3 Dania Beach. He didn’t take to dirt in the Holy Bull, finishing seventh, but if his sharp 4-furlong work over the Keeneland surface on April 6 is any indication, he will take to synthetic.

Mr. Speaker is one of four Grade 3 winners in the field, followed by Ami’s Holiday, Poker Player and Solitary Ranger.

Ami’s Holiday is making his first start outside of Woodbine, but the Josie Carroll trainee has been training at Keeneland since late March. With Robby Albarado aboard for the first time, this Ontario-bred is one to watch for exotics.

Poker Player is the wild card of the race. He followed up a promising, late-rallying second in the John Battaglia Memorial with a puzzling 10th in the Spiral. He sheds the blinkers for this start, boasts a win over this surface in the Grade 3 Bourbon and has jockey Stewart Elliott, who is having an outstanding spring meet.

There’s no doubt that if all goes to plan, Solitary Ranger will be on the lead or close to it in the early stages. The Wayne Catalano trainee uses his speed to his advantage, but he’s likely to get a stiffer challenge here from one of the Pletcher trainees and won’t be handed an easy lead. He’s proven on synthetic. His ninth-place showing over this track in the Breeders’ Futurity in October is a race to toss, since the surface was inundated with water after a torrential downpour, and some horses found it tough to navigate.

One to watch for exotics is the Graham Motion-trained Ride Away, who is making his synthetic debut. This colt is by Candy Ride, a sire known for prolific performers on synthetics, including Misremembered and Sidney’s Candy. He also has Julien Leparoux aboard for the first time, and that suits this late closer’s running style.

The field also includes Oaklawn Park-based Z Lucky and Gulfstream Park shipper Morning Calm SCRATCHED.

J.J. Hysell

2014 Lexington Stakes Chart

News and Recaps
Mr Speaker brings gavel down in Lexington
Mr Speaker Takes Down Coolmore Lexington

2014 Lexington Stakes Replay