A dozen sophomores have been entered in the $200,000 Lexington Stakes (G3) at Keeneland on Saturday, and the finish will determine whether My Boy Jack makes the starting gate at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May.
Having thus far earned 32 total points from the Road to the Kentucky Derby, My Boy Jack currently sits in 21st on the Leaderboard. The final 100-40-20-10 points contest in that series takes place a couple hours after the Lexington Stakes, which could bump My Boy Jack down even farther.
Trainer Keith Desormeaux seeks a win from the Creative Cause colt in the Lexington to ensure he makes the field for the 144th Kentucky Derby. The 1 1/16-mile contest closes out the 2017-18 Road to the Kentucky Derby series and offers up 20-8-4-2 points to the respective top four finishers.
My Boy Jack brings a 3-1-0-2 record from this season into the race, sandwiching a win in the Southwest Stakes (G3) between third-place efforts in the Sham Stakes (G3) and Louisiana Derby (G2). All those races took place at different tracks, and the dark bay colt makes his first appearance at Keeneland in this one with regular rider Kent Desormeaux aboard. The pair will break from the far outside.
Three other runners with Kentucky Derby points have also been entered in the Lexington – Greyvitos, Pony Up and Zanesville – but even with a win their chances of making the Run for the Roses are slim.
Greyvitos currently boasts 10 points, earned for a 2 1/4-length victory in the Springboard Mile at Remington Park last out on December 17. The gray son of Malibu Moon also wired the Bob Hope Stakes (G3) at Del Mar going seven furlongs one race prior. The Adam Kitchingman pupil makes his seasonal bow in this spot with Joel Rosario in the irons for the first time.
Pony Up breaks directly outside of Greyvitos and brings eight Derby points in the Lexington. The Todd Pletcher trainee earned those just missing by a neck in the March 17 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park. The chestnut son of Aikenite was fifth, beaten 20 lengths, prior to that one in the Holy Bull Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park under jockey John Velazquez, who has the call at Keeneland on Saturday.
Actually sitting in front of Pony Up on the Derby Leaderboard is Seven Trumpets with nine points, acquired thanks to a runner-up effort in the Jerome Stakes and fourth-placing last out in the Sunland Derby (G3). Sandwiched between those two efforts was a double-digit loss in the Southwest Stakes (G3) on February 19. Seven Trumpets is not even under consideration for the Kentucky Derby but will try to get back on the winning track here under Robby Albarado.
Technically, Zanesville also owns Kentucky Derby points, two to be precise, after rallying from the rear of the field to be fourth in the Jeff Ruby Steaks. However, the Tom Amoss trainee is not nominated to the Triple Crown and the winner’s share of points wouldn’t help either Greyvitos, Pony Up or Seven Trumpets, let alone Zanesville. The Tiznow colt returns to the main track in this spot and will attempt to duplicate his 7 1/2-length allowance romp from February 21 at Delta Downs while trying stakes rivals for the second time. James Graham has the call.
Magicalmeister ran in the Jeff Ruby Steaks last out, fading to 10th after contesting the early pace. The James Chapman trainee upset the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at 39-1 prior to that by a half-length. The Bodemeister colt has been competing over Turfway Park’s synthetic Polytrack for his past three races but returns to the dirt here for the first time since taking his maiden debut by 9 3/4 lengths at Mahoning Valley on January 9. John McKee stays in the saddle.
Battle at Sea brings a two-race win streak into the Lexington after breaking his maiden and taking the Crescent City Derby for trainer Mike Maker. The Into Mischief sophomore recorded both those efforts in wire-to-wire fashion at Fair Grounds, and gets the services of Kendrick Carmouche for the first time here. Third in the Crescent City Derby was Gracida, who filled the fourth spot in the Premier Night Prince Stakes at Delta Downs one race prior. Trainer Doug O’Neill has tabbed Julien Leparoux for the mount.
Completing the field are Honor Up, an 11-length maiden scorer in his fifth try most recently; Telekinesis, a debut maiden victor who ran third in his first race against winners last out; Navy Armed Guard, who just broke his maiden in his eighth career start last out on March 24 at Tampa Bay Downs; and Arched Feather, beaten double-digit lengths in both the Smarty Jones Stakes and John Battaglia in his past pair.