Saturday’s $200,000 Lexington (G3) at Keeneland, a Kentucky Derby (G1) prep in name only, is more likely to yield a longshot candidate for the Preakness (G1) at the end of its 1 1/16 miles on Saturday.
Of the 10 three-year-olds in the Lexington, none have acquired an adequate amount Derby qualifying points thus far to have a chance of being in the Derby starting gate without a) winning the Lexington and its 10 Derby points, and b) mass defections over the next several weeks.
No Dozing, who earned some points when finishing second in the Remsen (G2) last fall, saw his Derby dreams fade after two unspectacular performances in Florida this winter in the Sam F. Davis (G3) and Tampa Bay Derby (G2). However, the colt fits in this easier spot, and merits a chance off a rough-trip fourth to Classic Empire in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) here last fall.
“He ran well here last fall in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and that is one positive and I don’t think he liked the track at Tampa,” trainer Arnaud Delacour said.
Trainer Bob Baffert, who won the Lexington a year ago with Collected, looks to repeat with West Coast, a last-out maiden winner by 3 1/4 lengths at Santa Anita going the Lexington distance. The son of Flatter will break from the far outside and with blinkers added.
Senior Investment, an allowance winner at Oaklawn prior to running sixth in the Louisiana Derby (G2) two weeks ago, can improve on the drop in class. Another that wintered at Fair Grounds, Resiliency, overcame an early bump to beat entry-level allowance foes by more than a length at the New Orleans course last time for Steve Asmussen.
Others likely to attract play are Time to Travel, who debuts for Michael Matz following a 4 3/4-length maiden win at Gulfstream going seven furlongs, and Convict Pike, the recent third-place finisher in the Spiral (G3) who’s shown much improved form on turf and synthetic surfaces.
Kentucky Derby qualifying points of 10-4-2-1 will be awarded to the Lexington’s top four finishers.