Coolmore Lexington (Grade 3) (KYD)- $200.000 Purse
KEE- For Three Year Olds
One Mile and One Sixteenth on the Dirt
April 11, 2020
While the AR Derby gets the most attention this weekend in the virtual racing world, there is another race in its shadow providing the opportunity for horses to earn last-chance KYD points. It would seem to be a good race for horses that were on the bubble, given the AR Derby would figure to have the better field. Last year, Joshua Stables used the race to get his winner, Pure Authority, into the KYD, while he focused mainly on Beach Dandy. Pure Authority ended up going to the lead in that race at the start while Beach Dandy sat a few lengths off in the early moments there. Unfortunately, it would be the last time that horse would win a race. We’ll see some horses in this race who are just below the cutoff line that have a good chance to get in the big race, while several up and comers look to make this their big day. This is only worth 20 points to the winner, so if the winner did not have any points to begin with, that won’t be enough to get into the KYD unless of course, a handful of horses above them elect not to enter. We will have a full starting gate for this race, so let’s take this time to look at our field!
#1- Steak and Potatoes (Tiratzo, ridden by T M Hole) (KYD Points: 20, 28th)- The trainer made a large investment with this one, buying him in the middle of February for $688.000. At that time, he was coming off a win in the Smarty Jones, and had won three of four. After the purchase, he would debut for Tiratzo a couple weeks later and ran third in the San Felipe at SA, beaten by Geronimo and Groovy. On that result, he seems like he would be the favorite here, and Tiratzo didn’t spend that money to miss the KYD.
#2- Magical Emperor (La Canada Racehorses, ridden by G Saez) (KYD Points: 0)- This one would not be considered an up and comer, as he has been seen in several of the same races that others in here have been seen in. The difference is that Magical Emperor is not finishing in the money. He was fifth here last fall in the Breeders Futurity, and then placed seventh in both the Smarty Jones and San Felipe. Each of those races saw him soundly beaten by Steak and Potatoes, so just in comparison to that one, he looks like he falls short.
#3- County Medical (Crocker Ggs, ridden by G Franco) (KYD Points: 5, 42nd)- If he were to win this race, it’s up in the air as to whether or not 25 points would be enough to get in the KYD. It’s not going to get you in the top 20, but due to entry restrictions on trainers, being in the top 25 gives a horse a shot. Obviously, a huge factor is also what happens in the AR Derby. Winning, however, is not something he has done since July. Ran third in the Sham Stakes to get his five points, but was still two lengths back there, so that result has a “best of the rest” look to it rather then having been a contender.
#4- Jolly Rook (Angelos Stable, ridden by F Pennington) (KYD Points: 0)- There has not been much rest for Jolly Rook, as he is about to make his third start in less a month. Those two prior races were maidens, and he finally broke that two weeks ago at SA. I’ve often said it’s the third race in close succession that I have noticed is the problem race for many, but it is a good chance for the trainer to see how his horse stacks up in this division as he does work well. That said, he has not raced over a mile yet.
#5- Dragster (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by D Davis) (KYD Points: 11, 32nd)- He’s right there with Steak and Potatoes as a horse that doesn’t need a big result in the AR Derby to get into the KYD, and can settle for just getting enough here in the Coolmore Lexington instead. I think this is great placement by the trainer who, very surprisingly, does not have a horse in the top 20. Stark is 23rd, so may still be there. Dragster does not strike most as being a top KYD contender, given he has done just enough to earn points in the both the Southwest and SUN Derby without being near the leaders at the end. A big result here could change that outlook.
#6- Lucky But (Night Rider Stables, ridden by Je Toledo) (KYD Points: 0)- After finishing eighth in the Rebel Stakes in his last start, Lucky But underwent the snip a couple days later at the barn. Now, he will race here as a first time gelding, and that is always an angle to respect in our virtual racing world. His claim to fame right now is running third in the Great White Way, part of the NY Stallion Series. On form alone, he does not seem to be one of the horses to beat here, but we shall see what happens after the geld.
#7- Run Up The Score (Mb Stables, ridden by B J Hernandez Jr) (KYD Points: 0)- For Mb Stables, things aren’t about trying to get a horse into the KYD on a last ditch effort this weekend. He already has several, and has a tough decision, I believe, in what ends up as his third entry. Therefore, he can just try to get a piece of the purse in each of the big races this weekend. Run Up The Score is definitely an up and comer, with two wins in four starts, and making his stake debut here. This horse could be a spoiler here for those needing the 20 points. His shorter works are better then his public longer works, but he ran well over a mile at FG in a N1X allowance.
#8- Currax (Black Ice Racing, ridden by C H Borel) (KYD Points: 4, 50th)- There is a good amount of potential in this horse, as evidenced by finishing second in the Davis Stakes at TAM two months ago. In that race, he defeated both Immoral and Boardwalk, among other quality horses. Sadly for the trainer, he could not follow that up in the Ruby Stakes last month, a race in which he probably should have fared better in. Hopefully in this race we see him near the front early again, because it seems as though that is how he finishes better. If so, I think he can be the one to beat in this field. Will 24 points be enough? Like I said with County Medical, who’d be in the similar situation, it puts you in striking range but needing others to not enter the KYD who are in the top 20.
#9- Raid Of The Mist (Allinthegate, ridden by I Ortiz Jr) (KYD Points: 0)- After winning the Grade 3 Gray Stakes in October, he has proceeded to finish 12th of 12, 10th of 12, and 11th of 12, losing by a combined fifteen lengths in what were each respected TC prep races. He has not been able to get under the 1:37 mark in works, and that is reflected in the finishes. I’ll wait for that form to get reversed before I can give him support here.
#10- Shinjuku (RNP Stables, ridden by T McCarthy (KYD Points: 0)- This horse has only run twice in his career, running in April of 2019 at TUP and not racing again until a few weeks ago, winning a maiden on the grass at TAM. During that time, he found himself the subject of two auction periods. Now, hopefully with a trainer that wants to race him, he has a chance to shine, but I have to see it first. The TAM win was not necessarily an eye opener.
#11- A Boy And His Dog (Choppy Inc, ridden by M A Perez) (KYD Points: 0)- Comes into this race having won his last two, each over a mile. His most recent victory came at the end of February in the $100.000 Mine That Bird Derby at SUN, and got a sharp looking 95 SRF for that effort. Works have shown steady progress, so I imagine if he were to have another public mile work that he could break 1:37 now. He’ll have a chance in this field, but must be at his best.
#12- Chaos Broke Out (Mb Stables, ridden by E Jaramillo) (KYD Points: 0)- On the outside, this gelding has won his last two, showing much improvement after being gelded. Or perhaps he just liked being moved off the grass. Each of those wins were in smaller fields, and his SRF’s for the races do not stand out. As this is not about trying to get him into the KYD for the trainer, I imagine he just wants to see how his horse stacks up against this level of competition. If I were to pick a Mb horse in this field, I’d go with Run Up The Score.