December 1, 2022

Lexington last chance for Kentucky Derby hopefuls

Call Me Midnight (#8) wins the Lecomte Stakes (Photo by Lou Hodges Jr. / Hodges Photography)

Lexington S. (G3) — Race 10 (5:16 p.m. ET)

Saturday’s $400,000 Lexington S. (G3) at Keeneland serves as the last opportunity for several three-year-olds to earn enough qualifying points to make the field of 20 for the Kentucky Derby (G1) in three weeks. Quite a few are taking advantage.

In Due Time, who ran second in the Fountain of Youth (G2), and Ethereal Road, second in the Rebel (G2) but up the track in last week’s Blue Grass (G1), each have 20 points. The 1 1/16-mile Lexington is worth 20 points to the winner, and 40 points is currently the cutoff.

Sitting in 20th place at the moment is Jack Ruby (G3) second Tawny Port, obviously in search of some insurance points, as well as more positive experience on dirt. In his lone try on the surface, the Brad Cox trainee finished fifth in the Risen Star (G2).

Several 10-point prep winners will need to win Saturday, and need luck with defections in over the next several weeks. Major General kicked off the Road to the Kentucky Derby series with a neck victory in the Iroquois (G3) last September, but trailed the field of 10 in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) in his only interim start.

Dash Attack, who captured the Smarty Jones S. on New Year’s Day, subsequently went unplaced in both the Southwest (G3) and Rebel over fast tracks. Call Me Midnight, who upset potential Kentucky Derby favorite Epicenter in the Lecomte (G3), finished well behind that rival last month in the Louisiana Derby (G2).

Also in the field are Midnight Chrome, a distant third behind Mo Donegal and Zandon in the Remsen (G2) in his last try on dirt; Strava, third to eventual Arkansas Derby (G1) winner Epicenter in an allowance last time; and Howling Time, well beaten in two outings since winning the Street Sense S. last fall.