Talk about a competitive race! Saturday’s $200,000 Lexington Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland offers 20 Kentucky Derby qualification points to the winner, and since the timing of the race also makes it a viable prep race for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), a huge field of twelve horses has been entered.
On paper, there’s quite a bit of early speed in the Lexington Stakes, which could play to the strengths of the late-running favorite #12 My Boy Jack. Trained by Keith Desormeaux, My Boy Jack has already run well in a trio of Derby prep races, sandwiching third-place finishes in the Sham Stakes (gr. III) and Louisiana Derby (gr. II) around a 4 ½-length victory in the Southwest Stakes (gr. III).
My Boy Jack has received favorable setups in his last two starts, taking advantage of a rail-biased track in the Southwest and a fast pace in the Louisiana Derby, but there’s no doubt he’s got a terrific turn-of-foot. Just look at the move he made around the far turn of the Louisiana Derby, gaining about ten lengths on the leaders in the span of just two furlongs. He’s also proven over wet going, which could be important since there’s rain in the forecast for Saturday at Keeneland.
But My Boy Jack could be in for a fight if #6 Greyvitos is ready to roll in his first start since having a bone chip removed from his knee in December. The son of Malibu Moon announced his arrival on the Derby trail last November with an upset victory in the seven-furlong Bob Hope Stakes (gr. III) at Del Mar, a race in which he defeated the next-out Smarty Jones Stakes winner Mourinho by 1 ½ lengths. A month later, Greyvitos ran even better in the $400,000 Springboard Mile at Remington Park, overcoming a wide draw to settle just off the pace and then pounce to a clear victory over the talented Combatant, who has placed in three Derby prep races since then.
But will Greyvitos be sharp enough to beat this field in his first start off a four-month layoff? He’s posted eight workouts in preparation for his comeback, including five furlongs in a quick 1:00 1/5 last Saturday, but there’s no guarantee that he’ll fire his best shot off the layoff.
One horse that could be overlooked a bit is #2 Telekinesis. The lightly-raced son of Ghostzapper decisively won his debut sprinting six furlongs at Fair Grounds two months ago, then stepped up in an 8.5-furlong allowance race against older horses and finished third in a strongly-run race that saw the final five-sixteenths of a mile unfold in a quick :30.74 seconds. Telekinesis is back against his own age group for the Lexington and could be poised for an ideal trip if the #1 Battle At Sea breaks well from the rail and sets the pace.
I’ll focus on these four in the exotics while emphasizing Telekinesis and My Boy Jack: