Coveted Kentucky Derby Points Needed For Two In Lexington Stakes
Derby Hopes On The Line For Anothertwistafate, Sueno
By Margaret Ransom
Contested at 1 1/16 miles over Keeneland’s main track, Saturday’s $200,000 Stonestreet Lexington Stakes (GIII) represents the very last chance for Kentucky Derby (GI) hopefuls to earn enough points to make the gate for the Run for the Roses. This year, though a field of 10 will head to the gate, just a pair of runners will be looking for points needed to make the Derby gate, while the connections of eight others hope to upset those plans and see their charges add their names the list of previous winners that includes Horse of the Year, Derby and Preakness Stakes (GI) winner Charismatic, and champions/or classic winners Hansel, Touch Gold, Risen Star and Master Derby.
So with the total of 34 points toward the Derby available on a 20-8-4-2 basis to the top four finishers, a win make all the Derby difference.
Fan favorite Charismatic ran the fastest Lexington in 1999 when he stopped the clock in 1:41 in a year when the race was just two weeks before the Derby. The much beloved Robert and Beverly Lewis-owned chestnut, who spent 14 years at stud in Japan, died in 2107 after being brought home to Old Friends in Kentucky in late 2016.
Anothertwistafate, who currently sits 23rd with 30 points, makes his first start since a runner-up finish in the Sunland Park Derby (GIII) just under three weeks ago. The son of Scat Daddy is trained by Blaine Wright and will break from post position four under a new jockey, Hall of Famer Javier Castellano. He has been training at Keeneland more than a week.
Sueno, who is is conditioned by Keith Desormeaux, owns 28 points so far and sits 25th, so a win is essential for him to break the bubble to be assured a spot in the Derby starting gate in three weeks. The conditioner, who won this race last year with My Boy Jack, taps local jockey Corey Lanerie to ride the son of Atreides and the two will break from post position three.
No other runner has accumulated enough points to earn a Derby spot even with a victory Saturday, but KRA Stud Farm’s Knicks Go will make an attempt to upset the top two’s chances. The Ben Colebrook trainee, who was a top early Derby candidate last year after winning the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and finishing second in the in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), will be be ridden by Albin Jimenez from post position seven.
The field for the Stonestreet Lexington, with riders and morning line odds, from the rail, is: Shang (Irad Ortiz Jr., 10-1), Hawaiian Noises (John Velazquez, 10-1), Sueno (Lanerie, 5-1), Anothertwistafate (Castellano, 2-1), Harvey Wallbanger (Brian Hernandez Jr., 7-2), Chase the Ghost (Miguel Mena, 30-1), Knicks Go (Jimenez, 15-1), Owendale (Florent Geroux, 12-1), Zenden (Tyler Gaffalione, 6-1) and Roiland (James Graham, 15-1).
The Stonestreet Lexington Stakes will be run as the 9th race on Saturday’s 11-race program with a 5:34 p.m. ET post time. Saturday’s weather is expected to be warm and cloudy, but no rain on the forecasted 70-degree day.