Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

The Lexington Stakes: The Final Prep

Posted by Brian Appleton on April 16, 2010

This weekend’s Lexington Stakes will officially be the last Kentucky Derby prep of the year, although races such as the Derby Trial do present the opportunity for more horses to get some last minute earnings, the prep races officially end this weekend but the real race hasn’t even started. For months and months on end the most important, influential and wealthy people in racing dedicate themselves to finding one special horse. One horse that will forever change their lives and stamp their names in the history books alongside those of the immortals from past decades. The Kentucky Derby is the race of all races, the one that every trainer, owner and jockey desires to win. It is the Pink Panther of all diamonds, the 1968 Shelby Cobra GT 500-KR Mustang of all sports cars and the Holy Grail of thoroughbred horse racing. In short, it is probably the hardest and most coveted race in the world to win.

Two weeks from Saturday the 136th Kentucky Derby will take place and one horse will finish ahead of 19 vanquished


foes, to be immortalized forever but until the horses enter the starting gate, the game is not over yet. In the Lexington Stakes one horse has a chance of entering the Derby gate and even if he should win, his status for the Derby remains uncertain. Connemara, a horse that I quite honestly forgot about in the last month. His graded earnings currently stand at $138,500 and with the Lexington Stakes winner’s purse of $180,000 he would just make the Derby field. On February 20th, the same day that Derby favorite Eskendereya was playing “catch me” with his opponents in the Fountain Of Youth Stakes, Connemara won the El Camino Real Derby (Gr.3) by a diminishing length in California. Both colts are offspring of talented young sire Giant’s Causeway, both have stunning chestnut coats and present a tall striking image. That is where the similarities stop though. While Eskendereya runs as close to the pace as he can, Connemara does his best running from the back of the pack. Instead of launching one quick, stunning turn of foot around the turn to gain the lead, he tends to be more of a grinder.  He slowly accelerates around the turn until he gains enough speed to begin picking off his opposition in the stretch.

The Lexington Stakes will be Connemara’s first start on polytrack and he breaks from post position 10 in the field of 12. His biggest challenge appears to be Uptowncharlybrown, winner of the Pasco Stakes in the beginning of the year and 5th


place finisher behind Odysseus in the Tampa Bay Derby in March. Uptowncharlybrown will most likely take much of the support in


the race due to the fact that his trainer, Alan Seewald, passed away at the age of 62 on Monday. Connemara and Uptowncharlybrown represent the only two horses with fairly recognizable names in the race as the rest of the field is completed by one stakes winner in Exhi. The rest of the field enters the race with only allowance and maiden wins to their credit.

The Todd Pletcher trained Connemara looks like he has a class-edge over the field here assuming he takes to the dirt and is able to run his race.

Uptowncharlybrown is the obvious second choice and the hard part is trying to decide who might finish out the top three. Krypton won an allowance race by more than 6 lengths a couple weeks ago at Keenland and looks like the best shot at an upset here.


5 Responses to “The Lexington Stakes: The Final Prep”

  1. Brian,
    Keeneland replaced their natural dirt course with synthetic (polytrack) a few years back. It’s the same surface they have at Turfway Park as well; which makes sense since Keeneland developed and owns “polytrack” and also own half of Turfway Park. The mixture of “dirt” horses, turf horses, and synth horses make this a really tough race to handicap. Plus, not all synth courses are the same so I’m not what’s gonna happen tomorrow. All i know is, John Sadler’s horses seem to be doing well so maybe DISTORTED DAVE (10-1 ML) is worth some consideration. Last race at SA looked solid and this is a relatively week G2 field.

    • Woops, thanks Steve, I meant to say polytrack…fixed now!
      It seems pretty wide open in the Lexington Stakes. Connemara and Uptowncharylybrown look like good choices, but a long-shot winner wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

  2. What a great race to handicap because one can make a case for so many different horses. I think that you are correct Brian about Connemara perhaps being the best, but a win by Uptowncharlybrown would be a good story too.

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