The untimely death of veteran trainer Alan Seewald will have many rooting for UPTOWNCHARLYBROWN (Limehouse) in Saturday's $300,000 Lexington S. (G2) at Keeneland, and the chestnut colt could find a guardian angel guiding him all the way to the winner's circle.
The sophomore dominated his first two races, breaking his maiden by nine lengths on December 26 and then stepping up to face stakes rivals when taking the Pasco S. by six lengths on January 16. Uptowncharlybrown ran third in the Sam F. Davis S. (G3) next out, then suffered a troubled trip in the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) in his most recent race while sporting blinkers for the first time. He checked in fifth, just 2 3/4 lengths behind the winner, in the Tampa Bay Derby, but, even with a win in this event, won't have enough earnings to make the Kentucky Derby (G1) on May 1 unless there are some defections.
Linda White will be saddling Uptowncharlybrown on Saturday and Garrett Gomez has piloting duties.
The winner's share from the 1 1/16-mile Lexington would give CONNEMARA (Giant's Causeway) enough earnings to go in the Run for the Roses, but trainer Todd Pletcher already has the likely favorite for the Derby in Eskendereya (Giant's Causeway), as well as dual Grade 3 winner Rule (Roman Ruler), Louisiana Derby (G2) hero Mission Impazible (Unbridled's Song), Risen Start S. (G2) king Discreetly Mine (Mineshaft) and multiple Grade 3 victor Interactif (Broken Vow). Connemara seems a perfect fit for the Lexington, though, as the chestnut colt has run exclusively on synthetics during his five-race career thus far. He captured the El Camino Real Derby (G3) earlier this season and ran a rallying third in the Lane's End S. (G2) last out. Russell Baze travels in from the West Coast for the mount.
Also in with a chance are KRYPTON (Rock Hard Ten), DISTORTED DAVE (Distorted Humor) and EXHI (Maria's Mon). Krypton made his synthetic debut in an allowance two weeks ago on Keeneland's opening day and wheels right back here off that 6 1/4-length triumph. Distorted Dave will be testing the waters outside of Santa Anita for the first time, posting a 4 1/4-length victory against allowance/optional claiming rivals last out. Exhi brings a front-running, one-length score in Turfway's Rushaway S. into his Keeneland Polytrack debut.