Derby Prep Alert
Derby Prep Alert

April 15, 2016Sponsored by BRIS, our Preferred Past Performance Provider

Sponsored by BRIS, our Preferred Past Performance Provider

Last week Brody’s Cause and Exaggerator burst back onto the Derby scene while Weep No More took down three serious Oaks contenders to announce her arrival. And that was only part of the action! To catch up on this and all that happened, check out last week’s edition for replays, links to recaps and Brisnet charts.

This week is our final installment prior to the Derby and Oaks. And there’s still time for the Derby picture to change! We’ll return on Oaks day, Friday May 6th but check back often as we’ll have plenty of Derby and Oaks related content.

Catch up with prior Kentucky Derby and Oaks preps…
2016 Kentucky Derby Prep Schedule
2016 Kentucky Oaks Prep Schedule

Download Free Past Performances

News About the Contenders

Blood-Horse: Songbird Out of Kentucky Oaks
Blood-Horse: Gritty Lightstream Takes Beaumont Stakes
Blood-Horse: Fellowship’s First Work for Casse is Solid
Twinspires: Fellowship breezes; Derby hopefuls gallop at Churchill, Nyquist jogs at Keeneland
Twinspires: Dream Dance still under Kentucky Oaks consideration

Blood-Horse: Danzing Candy Set for Kentucky Derby Run
Blood-Horse: Nyquist Breezes Five Furlongs at Keeneland
Blood-Horse: Tom’s Ready Breezes at Churchill Downs
Blood-Horse: Easy Gallop for Nyquist as Work Approaches
Blood-Horse: Nyquist Jogs on Keeneland Training Track
Blood-Horse: Haskin’s Derby Dozen – April 12
Blood-Horse: Gun Runner Continues Derby Preparations
DRF: Kentucky Derby pedigree profile: Cupid
DRF: Derby contender Fellowship transferred to trainer Mark Casse
DRF: Hovdey: Brother Kent will handle Exaggerator hyperbole
TDN: Tom’s Ready Works at Churchill
TDN: Ramsey All-In for Derby with ‘Oscar’
TDN: Danzing Candy Likely for Derby
Twinspires: Nickname highlights small Beaumont field
Twinspires: Kentucky Derby Report (4/13): Redemption for Brody’s Cause, Exaggerator; Outwork prevails in first stakes win
Twinspires: Amoss impressed with half-mile work from Mo Tom
Twinspires: 2016 Kentucky Derby Pedigrees: Outwork
Twinspires: 2016 Kentucky Derby Pedigrees: Brody’s Cause
Twinspires: 2016 Kentucky Derby Pedigrees: Exaggerator

Lexington Stakes Kentucky Derby prep race

Keeneland, Saturday April 16, post time: 4:59 ET
1 1/16 miles (8.5 furlongs)

2016 Lexington Replay

Download the 2016 Lexington Chart courtesy of our partners

2016 Lexington News & Recaps
Blood-Horse: In Lexington Stakes, Collected Cashes In
DRF: Collected claims Lexington, likely will point toward Preakness
TDN: Baffert ‘Collects’ Another Derby Prep

2016 Lexington Preview
The Grade 3 Lexington Stakes at 1 1/16th miles will be run at Keeneland Race Course in Kentucky on Saturday. It is the lesser of the two 3-year-old graded stakes at Keeneland. Last week’s Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland may produce four runners return in the Kentucky Derby, but the Lexington seems likely to produce none.

After being run the third week of April for many years, the Lexington moved up a week on the calendar in 2015 to better accommodate runners potentially pointing towards the Kentucky Derby. The race offers a total of only 17 qualifying points, with 10 going to the winner. Those horses and connections with any hope of using the Lexington as prep for the Derby will need to enter the race with at least 10 points already posted. In the first three years under the new system, 20 points has been enough to sneak into the Derby field.

A win in the Lexington Stakes, even for those colts that have already accumulated points, might not be enough to qualify for the Kentucky Derby. Defections among those ranked in the top 20 are always a possibility. While it’s unlikely, the Lexington has an outside chance to produce an entry for the big race at Churchill. If not, colts that run well in the Lexington could follow the path of last year’s winner Divining Rod, who used the race as a prep for the Preakness Stakes.

Entries Swipe, Collected, and Riker all have accumulated enough points to become a potential Derby runner should they add the 10-point share for the Lexington winner.

Swipe is the most intriguing of the 10 horses entered. He earned qualifying points with runner-up finishes in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland and the Grade 1 FrontRunner at Santa Anita last year. In both of those races, he finished within a length of the expected Kentucky Derby favorite Nyquist. In total, he has run second to Nyquist four times in his seven-race career. He had surgery to remove a bone chip in his ankle early this year, which delayed his 3-year-old debut. Even without a start in 2016, his performances against classy competition will put him among the favorites to win the Lexington on Saturday.

Collected won the Grade 3 Sham Stakes in his 3-year-old debut at Santa Anita back in January. He ran a disappointing fourth as the favorite in Grade 3 Southwest in his next start but bounced back with a front-running win in the ungraded Sunland Park Festival of Racing Stakes in New Mexico. That race was run in place of the Grade 3 Sunland Derby, which was cancelled due to an EHV-1 outbreak that forced a quarantine at the track. That cancellation also wiped out the Kentucky Derby qualifying points slated for the Sunland Derby. Collected is trained by last year’s Triple Crown-winning trainer Bob Baffert. He sent this runner to Keeneland instead of Oaklawn, where the top four finishers in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, also run on Saturday, will divide a total of 170 qualifying points. It’s reasonable to conclude, based on his entry in the Lexington, that Baffert does not consider Collected a viable Kentucky Derby colt.

Riker won his first four career starts at Woodbine, capped with a win in the Grade 3 Grey. All four of those races were run over a synthetic surface. He made his dirt debut last year in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile where he finished sixth, beaten only four lengths by the winner Nyquist. He made his 3-year-old debut in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby where he pressed the pace but then faded to a disappointing sixth-place finish. Last week’s Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes winner, Brody’s Cause, also ran poorly in the Tampa Bay Derby and finished behind Riker in seventh place. It was the second time those two had faced off: Brody’s Cause finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile about a length in front of Riker. While he has yet to win on dirt, Riker has intriguing upside considering his races against last week’s Blue Grass winner.

Lomcevak won a maiden race in his second career race in 2015. He made his 3-year-old debut in an allowance race in January at Fair Grounds, where he finished a well-beaten fifth. The top two finishers in that race–Candy My Boy and Forevamo–went on to run respectably in graded stakes races. Lomcevak returned to the races last month back at Fair Grounds, where he won an allowance race while running wide throughout. The second-place finisher in that race, Call the Colonel, is also entered in the Lexington Stakes.

Synchrony won his second start at Keeneland and followed it up with a win in an allowance race at Churchill Downs. In his 3-year-old debut, he finished third in the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn and followed that with a disappointing sixth in the Grade 3 Southwest over the same surface. A return to the track where he won his first career race could inspire a reversal of his recent form.

Yo Carm broke his maiden in his fourth career race at Arlington Park in Chicago. He then moved to Kentucky, where he ran fifth in an allowance race at Keeneland and ninth in an allowance at Churchill Downs to conclude his 2-year-old season. He returned to the races in January with an impressive six-length win in an allowance race at Tampa Bay Downs. The Lexington will be his first attempt against graded stakes company.

Big Squeeze, Direct Message, and Pinson each has a maiden race win under their belts and will be making their graded stakes debut in the Lexington. One More Round has raced three times in his career against maidens and has yet to record a win.

Kevin Martin

Arkansas Derby Kentucky Derby prep race

Oaklawn Park, Saturday April 15, post time: 7:18 pm ET
1 1/8 miles (9 furlongs)

2016 Arkansas Derby Replay

Download the 2016 Arkansas Derby Chart courtesy of our partners

2016 Arkansas Derby News & Recaps
Blood-Horse: Creator Soars Home to Win Arkansas Derby
TDN: Tapit’s Creator Upsets Arkansas Derby

2016 Arkansas Derby Preview
The Grade 1 Arkansas Derby’s place on the schedule as the last Kentucky Derby Championship Series points race can make it easy to forget that there’s also $1 million and a lot of prestige on the line, but that is what is at stake for a dozen 3-year-olds on Saturday at Oaklawn Park.

The Arkansas Derby has been a who’s who of marquee 3-year-olds the past 12 years, starting with eventual 3-year-old champion males Smarty Jones and Afleet Alex in 2004 and 2005 respectively, and continuing with eventual Horse of the Year Curlin in 2007, eventual Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver in 2010, and eventual Triple Crown winner American Pharoah last year.

American Pharoah gave Bob Baffert his second win in the race in four years, and the Racing Hall of Fame trainer has morning line favorite Cupid in here this year. Like American Pharoah, Cupid won the Grade 2 Rebel—Baffert’s third consecutive win in the race and sixth of the past seven editions.

Unlike American Pharoah, Cupid—even with a Rebel-Arkanasas Derby double—is unlikely to be the favorite for the Kentucky Derby on May 7 at Churchill Downs because of undefeated champion Florida Derby winner Nyquist. Still, an Arkansas Derby win would certainly make him among the top choices behind Nyquist, and Cupid was the shortest price among Arkansas Derby entrants in the recently concluded Kentucky Derby Future Wager.

Cupid lost his first two starts, but he is undefeated since stretching out to two turns. He won his maiden race sitting off the pace but won the Rebel gate to wire, and a few new names that did not contest the Rebel could engage Cupid on the front end.

Gettysburg is the 6-1 fourth choice on the morning line. He ships in for trainer Todd Pletcher after finishing second to the Baffert-trained Collected in the Sunland Festival of Racing Stakes on March 20 in New Mexico. Gettysburg’s only win was on the front end, and he is one of only two Arkansas Derby entrants with 1 1/8-miles experience. The other is Dazzling Gem, who finished third in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby and likes to press the pace.

The top two contenders hoping to benefit from more pace against Cupid are second choice Whitmore and third choice Suddenbreakingnews, the runner-up and fifth-place finishers, respectively, in the Rebel. Although Whitmore has closed from far back in his last two races, he had shown some speed when winning sprint races to start his career.

Others from the Rebel include third-place finisher Creator, sixth-place Gray Sky, seventh-place Discreetness, who won the Springboard Mile and Smarty Jones Stakes earlier in his career, and eighth-place Cutacorner.

Other new names with Gettysburg and Dazzling Gem are Unbridled Outlaw, who finished third in the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes before finishing 12th in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and recent maiden winner American Pioneer.

Luna de Loco, a recent allowance winner who finished fourth in the Smarty Jones and 13th in the Southwest, rounds out the field.

Ed DeRosa