Saturday's $200,000 Lexington S. (G3) at Keeneland serves as one of the final point-scoring opportunities for the 2021 Kentucky Derby (G1), but for most of the field, the amount of points on offer (20-8-4-2 to the top four finishers) are likely to prove insufficient to make it into the starting gate at Churchill Downs in three weeks.
That's not the case, though, for a couple of borderline prospects. Proxy, who earned 34 qualifying points after three runs at Fair Grounds over the winter, will attempt to not only secure his position in the Derby field but actually prove to his connections that he belongs after second-place runs in the Lecomte (G3) and Risen Star (G2) and a fourth-place finish in the Louisiana Derby (G2).
On the outside looking in at the moment is Hockey Dad, who advanced from the California-bred ranks to finish third, beaten a length, in the Mar. 27 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park. Earning 20 points for that effort, Hockey Dad has two-time Derby winning connections in his corner -- owner J. Paul Reddam and trainer Doug O'Neill. Those two won the Run for the Roses in 2012 with I'll Have Another and in 2016 with Nyquist, the sire of Hockey Dad.
The remainder of the Lexington field could use the Lexington as a potential stepping stone to the May 15 Preakness (G1) with a strong showing. Starrininmydreams proved no match in either the Risen Star or Louisiana Derby, but is eligible to bounce back. The stakes-quality King Fury and Ultimate Badger are two others that have fallen short in more difficult spots.
Making their stakes debuts in the 1 1/16-mile Lexington are the allowance-winning Swiftsure, for Steve Asmussen, and recent maiden winners Bezos and Noble Reflection, who are trained by Bob Baffert and Richard Baltas, respectively.
The Lexington is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. ET. It can be watched and wagered on at TwinSpires.com.