Lexington Stakes Preview

The $200,000 Lexington Stakes (G3) is the last of two Derby prep races on Saturday, April 13, with the top-four finishers earning 20-8-4-2 points towards qualifying for the May 4 Kentucky Derby (G1). The 1 116-mile race has been run at a Grade 3 level since 2011, and was inaugurated in 1936.

Just two favorites have won the Lexington since 2009, including My Boy Jack in 2018 who came from way off the pace to win and earn enough points to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, where he finished fifth. The 2019 Lexington morning-line favorite is Anothertwistafate at 2-1.

1   Shang   S. Asmussen   I. Ortiz Jr.   10-1
2   Hawaiian Noises   W. Ward   J. Velazquez   10-1
3   Sueno   K. Desormeaux   C. Lanerie   5-1
4   Anothertwistafate   B. Wright   J. Castellano   2-1
5   Harvey Wallbanger   K. McPeek   B. Hernandez Jr.   7-2
6   Chase the Ghost   D. Stewart   M. Mena   30-1
7   Knicks Go   B. Colebrook   A. Jimenez   15-1
8   Owendale   B. Cox   F. Gereaux   12-1
9   Zenden   V. Barbara   T. Gaffalione   6-1
10   Roiland   T. Amoss   J. Graham   15-1

A clear speed bias was in place at the track opening weekend, and that’s something to note when handicapping the 2019 Lexington. There will likely be six horses running up front within two lengths of each other, including Sueno, Anothertwistafate and Zenden, three of the top choices on the morning line.

Sueno and Anothertwistafate must win the Lexington to qualify for the Kentucky Derby. These two are the worthy top contenders, and Anothertwistafate cuts back in distance and has a solid pace advantage. He showed solid speed in his last two races and posted a very sharp work in prep with new jockey Javier Castellano taking over. Sueno has finished in the top three in all six lifetime starts and likely makes it seven here. He’ll sit just off the pace and improvement could get him the Derby bid over the favorite. Zenden has some value and did all the work up front in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) before finishing a close fourth.

Harvey Wallbanger is a deep closer who raced two weeks ago in the Florida Derby (G1), but the race had no pace up front. The Keeneland track has been favoring speed which makes his potential late run less likely.

Hawaiian Noises is a longshot who has been working terrific the last three weeks. He’s a sprinter who could carry a bit longer making just his second start since December. Shang has shown good speed in his two route races and improvement could have him hitting board.

In 1984 the race was named the Lexington, and that year Swale, a nine-time winner and son of Seattle Slew, finished second in the Lexington and went on to win the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes (G1). In 1999, Charismatic won the Lexington in a record time of 1:41.06 with jockey Jerry Bailey earning his record sixth Lexington win. Charismatic then went on to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (G1) before finishing third in the Belmont Stakes, the final start of his 17-race career.

All different styles of runners have won the Lexington over the past decade, and it’s a tougher handicap as most horses have not run over the Keeneland track prior to the race. Huge longshot All Squared Away won the 2012 Lexington Stakes at 70-1 odds and paid $143.20. Other double-digit long shot winners include Advice (15-1) in 2009, Exhi (20-1) in 2010 and Senior Investment (11-1) in 2017. Heavy favorite Hansel won the 1991 edition by nine lengths and paid only $2.60 on a $2 win bet, both Lexington records.

The Lexington Stakes is Race 9 at Keeneland on Saturday, April 13, with post time at 5:34 p.m. (ET).

SCULLY: Anothertwistafate, Sueno seek to qualify in Lexington
SCULLY: Owendale outfinishes Anothertwistafate in Lexington