Swipe makes belated sophomore debut in Lexington

Apr 15, 2016 Vance Hanson/Brisnet.com

The $150,000 Lexington (G3) at Keeneland on Saturday is one of the final two points-scoring races in the Road to the Kentucky Derby Series, but with only 10 eligibility points available to the winner of the race it is unlikely to considerably help any of the main contenders make the Derby field in three weeks.

Swipe, four times second to champion Nyquist last season, has accrued only 12 points and an extra 10 would still leave him on the outside looking in on making it into the Derby starting gate as things stand right now. The cutoff is currently more than 30 points.

Sidelined after having surgery following the Breeders' Cup, Swipe is making a belated sophomore debut in the Lexington. The Keith Desormeaux trainee brings excellent credentials, if not current form. A sprint stakes winner at Los Alamitos last summer, he then was stopped by Nyquist in four straight: the Best Pal (G2), Del Mar Futurity (G1), FrontRunner (G1), and Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1). He's come the closest to beating the undefeated Derby favorite, narrowly missing in the FrontRunner.

Regardless of Swipe's performance, the barn will be represented in the Kentucky Derby with Santa Anita Derby (G1) hero Exaggerator.

Others in the Lexington field with some Derby points, Collected and Riker, are in the same boat as Swipe. However, Collected has not been campaigned as a potential Derby contender in recent months. After winning the Sham (G3) and losing as the favorite in the Southwest (G3), Collected shipped to Sunland Park to capture a substitute stakes for the cancelled Sunland Derby (G3), which offered no points.

Riker, a top juvenile in Canada last season who disappointed in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) last time, is reportedly using the Lexington as a preliminary for the American Turf (G2) at Churchill on Derby weekend.

Also in the Lexington field are the stakes-placed Synchrony, who was taken off the Derby trail after running sixth in the Southwest, and last-out maiden winners Direct Message and Big Squeeze.

(Benoit Photos)

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