Keeneland Race Course is the home of the 78th running of the Coolmore Lexington Stakes, which takes place Saturday and drew a field of 11 contenders.
With two weeks left until the Run for the Roses, the Lexington Stakes is the last Kentucky Derby prep race that offers an opportunity to obtain points in the Road to the Kentucky Derby scoring system.
The 17 remaining Derby points will be distributed as follows: 10 points to the winner, 4 points to second, 2 points to third, and 1 point to fourth place.
Currently none of the horses in this field of 11 have enough points to qualify for a spot in the Top 20. The only real contender from a points perspective in this race is Ami’s Holiday who earned 10 points this past October after winning the Grey Stakes at Woodbine. Even if Ami’s Holiday were to win the Lexington Stakes, he only would improve his ranking to a tie with six others for 21st on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.
Regardless of potential Derby impact, the Lexington Stakes is a prestigious Grade 3 race with a $200,000 purse, and for bettors there is money to be made!
Let’s take a look at some of these contenders and see which horses have potential to cross the finish line first:
Undefeated colt Divine Oath (3-to-1) will be making his stakes debut for trainer Todd Pletcher, with Javier Castellano aboard for the test. Pletcher currently holds the record for most wins in the Lexington, and with Supermonic and Global Strike running in this race from Pletcher’s barn be sure to look for this stable to have an impact on Saturday.
Mr Speaker most recently came in second to Gala Award in the Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes on the grass at Gulfstream in March at 1 1/8 miles. Currently at 5-to-2 odds and trained by hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, this horse is a definite contender. I’m looking forward to seeing how he will fair making his debut on Keeneland’s synthetic Polytrack surface.
Trainer Wayne Catalano has two entrants in Solitary Ranger and Poker Player. Solitary Ranger has won 2 of 3 starts so far in 2014 and could prove to have top-3 potential at this distance of 1 1/16 miles. Poker Player, who came in second to Solitary Ranger in March in the John Battiglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park will be riding without blinkers this race and may be ready to make a lasting appearance Saturday.
Overall, I feel like this is a wide-open race full of 3-year-olds making their stakes debuts, and the Lexington promises plenty of potential for upset due to the quality of horses.
Below are two ways I would bet the Coolmore Lexington Stakes with a $20 Budget:
Scenario A – $5 win/place 1,6 ($20)
Scenario B – $5 trifecta 2 with 6,11 with 4 ($10)
$1 trifecta 1,6 with 1,6 with 4,7,10 ($6)
$2 exacta box 1,7 ($4)
Scenario C – $5 exacta part wheel 1,7 with 2,6 ($20)
Best of luck!