April 23, 2024

Proxy, Hockey Dad seek Derby points in Lexington

Owendale winning the 2019 Lexington at Keeneland (c) Coady Photography

Lexington S. (G3) – Race 9 (5:30 p.m. ET)

Qualifying races for the Kentucky Derby will conclude this weekend, and Saturday’s $300,000 Lexington S. (G3) at Keeneland will award a combined 34 points (20-8-4-2) to the top four.

Proxy and Hockey Dad are the only runners in the 10-horse field who can lock up a Kentucky Derby berth with a win; the rest would need help to make a 20-horse starting gate at Churchill Downs on May 1.

A Godolphin homebred Tapit colt, Proxy has earned points in all three stakes appearances this season, finishing second in the Risen Star S. (G2) and Lecomte S. (G3) prior to an even fourth in the TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby (G2).  After adding blinkers last time, Michael Stidham will remove the headgear in the 1 1/16-mile Lexington, and John Velazquez will retain the mount.

Hockey Dad exits a close third in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park, netting 20 points in his stakes debut. The Nyquist colt had posted three consecutive wins over California-bred rivals in advance of his first attempt against open competition last time. Mario Gutierrez will be in to ride for Doug O’Neill.

Bezos, who was listed as an individual betting interest in Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager despite never having started, will attract support after rolling to a 4 1/2-length maiden win at Santa Anita in his second start. Bob Baffert trains the Empire Maker colt, who stretched to two turns last time, and Drayden Van Dyke takes over the reins.

Noble Reflection and Swiftsure ship in from Oaklawn after convincing wins. Noble Reflection established fast splits posting a 4 1/2-length maiden tally the second time out on March 7, and Javier Castellano will be up for the first two-turn start. Swiftsure also stretches out for his stakes debut, romping by 3 1/2 lengths over entry-level allowance foes last time. Irad Ortiz Jr. picks up the mount.

Tampa Bay Derby (G2) fourth Unbridled Honor also merits respect. Julien Leparoux will pilot the Todd Pletcher-trained late runner. Completing the field are It’s My House, King Fury, Starrininmydreams, and Ultimate Badger.