Entries were drawn on Wednesday for the Grade 3 $200,000 Coolmore Lexington at Keeneland on Saturday, with the winner of the race rewarded with 20 points in the new qualifying system for the Kentucky Derby.
Currently there are three horses sitting with 20 points which is good for 20th in the point standings. They are Charming Kitten, Code West and Tiz a Minister.
If two or more horses have the same number of points, the tiebreaker to get into the Kentucky Derby will be earnings in non-restricted stakes races, whether they are graded or not.
Charming Kitten has earned $206,000 and would get in, with Code West having just $90,000, while Tiz a Minister has $81.000.
It’s possible if there are a few defections that the Lexington winner could make a quick two week turnaround and show up in Louisville on the first Saturday of May.
The connections of Cerro and Sunbean have both mentioned the possibility. The filly Pure Fun is seeking to earn points to get into the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks.
Runners coming out of the Lexington have not fared well in recent years, but Charismatic did wheel back in two weeks and win the 199 Kentucky Derby, so it can happen.
The best finish of a Lexington starter in the Derby since Charismatic won was Proud Citizen, who ran second in 2002. The last Lexington winner to run back in the Derby was Derby Kitten, who checked in 13th in 2011.
The Lexington may not turn out to have much of an impact on the Derby, but we could see several of the runners come back in the Preakness Stakes, and with a field of eleven, it is going to be a good betting race regardless. I’ll have my selections and analysis in Saturday’s column.
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Here is today’s opening race from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
Analysis: Horsin' Around cuts back from a sprint where the filly set the early fractions and tired to finish a well beaten sixth in the restricted Beru Stakes going two turns. The filly put in a decent efforts two and three back sprinting against Alw-1 optional claimers, checking in second in her first go against winners and then was fourth at Laurel Park but beaten just under two lengths. She made up some ground late two back and now figures to get a sharp early pace in front of her here and may be running late if the speed starts to back up. Worth a look here if she goes off near her 8-1 morning line.
Talent N Passion took the field gate to wire last out to beat $25,000 starter optional claimers as the chalk in her first go for the RRod barn. The filly earned the top last out speed fig and owns the edge in early and mid pace numbers. If she gets loose early she will be a danger to wire them again, but there are a couple of fillies in here with some early zip, and she is going to be a light price so let's take a small stab we can beat her for the top spot.
WIN: #6 to win at 5-1 or better.
EX: 5,6 / 4,5,6
TRI: no play
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 8 OClm $25,000SAL (4:27 ET) 6 Shotinthefog 6-1 5 So Scott 5-2 4 Coaltown Legend 4-1 8 Blue Creek 3-1
Analysis: Shotinthefog tracked the early pace from the outside and finished evenly in a runner up finish behind gate to wire winner Shotgun City, who came back to beat restricted $35,000 claimers in his next start on April 11. He makes his second start here for former Canani assistant Danny Gargan. There is not much early speed signed up to go here and if Alvarado sends this guy early that may be his best shot. The gelding seldom misses picking up a check, landing in the money in 13 of his 19 starts.
So Scott made a mild late run to finish in the runner up spot last out against $40,000 starter optional claimers of a two month break. His other trip over the Big A main track produced a win versus state bred Alw-2 optional claimers last April. In 17 career starts he has been the beaten favorite eight times, and does have a habit of landing for minor shares.
WIN: #6 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 5,6 / 4,5,6,8
TRI: 5,6 / 4,5,6,8 / 2,4,5,6,8
These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their trifecta and superfecta wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win-place wager.
R1: #6 Horsin’ Around 8-1
R3: #4 Summer Haasienda 15-1
R3: #1 He Has Charm 8-1
R5: #6 In Todd We trust 8-1
R6: #7 Point Taken 8-1
R7: #1 Sally’s Dream 8-1
Mike DempseyMike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year round as well as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, the Triple Crown, and the Breeders' Cup. The 2015 Triple Crown saw Mike correctly predict American Pharoah to win both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Mike nailed the Exacta and Trifecta in the Belmont Stakes. Mike had a solid 2014 Triple Crown race season, correctly picking the winning horse in 2 of 3 races. He selected I'll Have another to win The Preakness, and nailed Union Rags to win the Belmont Stakes as his top pick. Mike also had past succes in the Kentucky Derby, winning with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and rode his top picks, Super Saver and Street Sense, to the finish line in 2010 and 2007 respectively. No handicapper in the industry works harder to bring you analysis that produces profits at the track! Mike's Reports include his selections, detailed analysis, a fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire card. Join Mike daily with top picks from Belmont. You can also get his Weekend Best Plays Report in his Multi-Track package or sit at the track with him for 30 Days with his Monthly Horse Package!
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Jerry SessaJerry "Shots" Sessa has been involved in horse racing for over 30 years. He now brings his meticulous handicapping style to VegasInsider.com. When Jerry posts picks you are getting his best bets...when you win, he wins. Jerry opened the 2016 Triple Crown season by hitting his Derby Day best bet, Nyquist. He also nailed the Derby exacta for a $30.60 payout. On 4/16/16 at Keeneland, Jerry hit an $819 exacta that led to a $38k Trifecta & a $300k Super.
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