2022 Lexington Stakes Cheatsheet
By TwinSpires Editorial Team, Sponsored Content

By Vance Hanson (TwinSpires.com)

1. MIDNIGHT CHROME (20-1) – Son of California Chrome has had exactly one two-turn race on dirt, and it happened to be a vintage renewal of the Remsen (G2) involving Mo Donegal and Zandon. He was left in their wake after rating close to a pedestrian pace, but he’s probably much more the stalk-and-pounce type. Sure to be overlooked here, given relatively modest form otherwise, but keep in mind those were on the grass. Return to preferred conditions for Servis/Ortiz might induce a wakeup.

2. IN DUE TIME (3-1) – Fountain of Youth (G2) runner-up skipped the major points preps held over the last two weeks, reportedly due to the Gulfstream fixture having been a very tough race for him physically. Breen is happy with him now, and he looms the one to beat if he repeats the form of his last two races. However, he doesn’t tower over this bunch, so a little price shopping might be in order.

3. WE ALL SEE IT (15-1) – After a no-show against Kentucky Derby (G1)-bound Zozos two back, this gray rebounded big time when prevailing against allowance foes after a prolonged duel. There’s a chance we could see more of that here, but perhaps an equal chance or better he regresses after that unexpected upswing in form.

4. ETHEREAL ROAD (10-1) – Was found wanting in last week’s Blue Grass (G1) and wheels back on short rest in order to pad the Derby points total, which stands at 20 following his second in a sub-par renewal of the Rebel (G2). His Blue Grass effort actually wasn’t too far off his standard performance from a speed perspective, which doesn’t necessarily bode well despite this drop in class.

5. HOWLING TIME (15-1) – Although he ran well below what he is capable of in the Fountain of Youth, a repeat of his Street Sense most likely wouldn’t have gotten him more than a finish in midpack. Obviously outclassed in a tough renewal of the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) two back, but also tough to decipher where exactly he fits at this point.

6. SKATE TO HEAVEN (30-1) – Jumped up last out to graduate despite never having finished within five lengths of the winner in three prior starts (including against Ethereal Road). Like We All See It, perhaps a sign of the proverbial light bulb turning on and the form upswing continues in this drastically tougher spot. But gut suggests this hike will prove too much.

7. MAJOR GENERAL (4-1) – Seemingly lost confidence after a poor start in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and wound up trailing the field of 10 in his first start since September. While likely in need of that race anyway, the relative modesty of his two wins last term (the form of the Iroquois [G3] has not held up) marked him as an underlay in that comeback. Blinkers are added here, but odds might again be too short for barn that owns the record for most wins in the race (five).

8. STRAVA (20-1) – Into Mischief colt broke his maiden here last fall, and ran well in two starts at Fair Grounds despite troubles leaving the gate second out and getting overexcited before the start of his two-turn debut. No threat in the latter to Cyberknife, but that more experienced rival came back to win the Arkansas Derby (G1). This one adds blinkers and remains with upside, though a minor share might be the best case scenario.

9. TAWNY PORT (5-2) – Currently sitting 20th in the Kentucky Derby standings, thus looking for some insurance points ahead of the big one in three weeks. He also needs to prove he can carry his fine Tapeta to dirt. Lone dirt try was a fifth in the Risen Star (G2), respectable given the company he was facing, but connections would undoubtedly prefer to see more before advancing to Churchill. Plenty to like, though quick turnaround and short price are negatives.

10. DASH ATTACK (10-1) – Given the relative lack of depth in the Southwest (G3) and Rebel this year, his efforts in those two races must be regarded as disappointments. Form has only come to the fore on wet tracks so far and, if the forecast holds, he’s unlikely to catch that kind of track here. Barn has won two of the last four editions of this race, but a lot of improvement needed on the part of this colt to make it three out of five.

11. CALL ME MIDNIGHT (6-1) – Upset likely Derby favorite Epicenter in the Lecomte (G3) in January, skipped the Risen Star (G2), and then was left in that rival’s wake in the Louisiana Derby (G2). Deep closer is going to need help pace-wise here and must overcome a wide draw, but has run well here previously, his trainer won this race four years ago with My Boy Jack, and 1 1/16 miles is perhaps a more suitable distance for him.