- Road to the Kentucky Derby
- Racing & Wagering
Pure Fun meets 10 male rivals in Lexington
Pure Fun will take an unorthodox route toward her ultimate goal, the May 3 Kentucky Oaks, when she lines up against 10 males in Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Lexington at Keeneland. The 1 1/16-mile race on Polytrack offers a total of 34 points (20-8-4-2) for both the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, and Pure Fun needs points to qualify with only 20 in the bank.
Trained by Kenny McPeek, Pure Fun completed 2012 with an excellent one-length victory in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet. The chestnut daughter of Pure Prize made a belated three-year-old debut, finishing third in the March 23 Bourbonette Oaks, and missed some training time afterward, which her forced her connections to bypass filly events like the Ashland at Keeneland and the Fantasy at Oaklawn Park earlier this month. She will break from the far outside post position with new rider Rosie Napravnik.
Her main rivals include Cerro, Pick of the Litter and Sunbean.
Cerro stamped himself as a promising prospect when capturing a 1 1/8-mile optional claimer at Gulfstream Park on January 26, but he's been sidelined since a sixth in the February 23 Fountain of Youth. The Graham Motion trainee will receive plenty of class relief in the Lexington after competing against Orb and Violence last time, and the chestnut son of Mr. Greeley will be re-united with Joel Rosario, the leading rider at the current Keeneland meet.
Pick of the Litter recorded a sharp 7 1/2-length tally when breaking his maiden two starts back in only his second lifetime outing, but the Dale Romans-trained colt was thrown in deep waters last time, checking in eighth behind Orb and Itsmyluckyday in the March 30 Florida Derby. He figures to appreciate this company and the chestnut son of Kitten's Joy is bred to handle the Polytrack. Regular rider Jesus Castanon will be up.
Sunbean was supplemented to the Lexington and exits a nightmarish trip in the Louisiana Derby in which he finished eighth. A winner of three straight beforehand, the son of Brahms has been transferred to Mike Maker, Keeneland's leading trainer, and receives a positive rider switch to Gary Stevens. The Louisiana-bred colt is two for two at the 8 1/2-furlong distance.
Other runners include John Battaglia Memorial winner General Election, who will look to rebound from a disappointing 10th in the Spiral; Examen, who will make his stakes bow for Tom Proctor following maiden and optional claiming wins at Santa Anita; recent allowance winner Winning Cause, a Todd Pletcher runner who possesses a two for two mark on Keeneland's Polytrack; and Gulfstream allowance scorer River Rocks.