With two weeks to go before the Kentucky Derby, horses without enough graded stakes earnings to get into the big race are clearly on the bubble. The Grade 2 Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland is the last realistic chance for such hopefuls to get into the field, which is limited to 20. A full field of 14 entered the starting gate in this $325,000 event at 1 1/16 miles, before a record attendance of 31,035 at Keeneland. Sent off as the lukewarm 4-1 favorite was Song of the Sword, runner-up in the Illinois Derby last out. Also in the field were Lecomte Stakes winner and 9-2 second choice Fire Slam, and "wise guy" horse Boomzeeboom, the 5-1 third choice off a two-race winning streak, but in his first start against stakes company.
Quintons Gold Rush winner of the Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland.
Winning trainer Steve Asmussen said, "He ran a great race. He's a tremendously talented horse. We haven't had him long enough to do much with him. It was our plan to run him here and then evaluate our Derby options." Asmussen has only been Quintons Gold Rush's trainer for two weeks, since his loss in the Santa Anita Derby. Mike Mitchell trained the colt previously.
Fire Slam winning the Lecomte Stakes at the Fair Grounds.
Norberto Arroyo Jr, aboard beaten favorite Song of the Sword, said, "He broke badly and I think that really cost me. When we got to the turn we were in good position and I had plenty of horse but the horse in front of me stopped and by the time I was able to angle out, it was too late." Trainer Jennifer Pedersen added, "He's never run a bad race. Did you see the way he finished? If we have the earnings, we're in the Derby."
Two other minor Kentucky Derby preps were also held today: The California Derby at Bay Meadows and the Federico Tesio at Pimlico. At Pimlico, local favorites Water Cannon and Pawyne Princess, duelled the entire 9 furlongs with Water Cannon getting the win by a neck in 1:50.50. At Bay Meadows, Trieste's Honor got up to win over pacesetter Capitano by neck in 1:47.95. Neither race is expected to have an impact on the Kentucky Derby, but watch the Tesio horses when it comes time for the Preakness.
Federico Tesio chart
California Derby chart
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