When ten horses line up to contest Saturday’s $200,000 Lexington Stakes (G3) at Keeneland, the one sure bet is that I’ll be all-in with my support of #4 Anothertwistafate.
The 1 1/16-mile race serves as a final, desperate qualifier for the 2019 Kentucky Derby (G1), and offers 20 qualifications points to the winner. Those points alone are unlikely to yield a spot in the starting gate, but coupled with points earned earlier in the season, horses on the outside looking in for Derby qualification still have a chance to sneak into the field.
Anothertwistafate is a perfect example. This son of Scat Daddy has been almost unstoppable in his last four starts. He won a trio of races over the Tapeta track at Golden Gate Fields (including the El Camino Real Derby) before he switched to dirt and finished second with a troubled trip in the Sunland Derby (G3).
But such a bare reading of his form doesn’t do justice to how impressive Anothertwistafate has been. In the El Camino Real Derby, he carved out the pace, then accelerated away from his rivals in the homestretch to win by seven lengths. He looked fantastic running straight and true down the homestretch and clocked the final furlong in a quick :12.08.
I was even more impressed by Anothertwistafate’s defeat in the Sunland Derby. Caught behind horses on the far turn, Anothertwistafate had to wait in traffic while the eventual winner got an unimpeded run on the outside. Once Anothertwistafate got out in the clear, he rallied resiliently and ran the final furlong in less than :12 (again while maintaining a straight course) to miss by just a neck.
Anothertwistafate’s crisp running style and powerful finishes have left me thinking he has a serious chance to win the Kentucky Derby. In terms of Beyer and BRIS speed figures, he’s a clear standout in the Lexington Stakes, and he’ll be gaining the services of top jockey Javier Castellano, who has won with a staggering nine of his first 17 mounts at Keeneland this meet. I will be legitimately surprised if Anothertwistafate is beaten on Saturday.
I’d be content to just bet Anothertwistafate to win, except I suspect he’ll be a short price in the wagering, perhaps as low as even-money. The reward for such a play won’t be much, so in the event that he starts below 3-2 or so, let’s key him on top in the exacta and trifecta.
For the second and third slots on those tickets, let’s play against established graded stakes winners #5 Harvey Wallbanger (who enjoyed a pace meltdown when he won the Holy Bull Stakes) and #7 Knicks Go (who has been beaten by double-digit lengths in his last three starts). Instead,let’s favor the consistent #3 Sueno (third in the Louisiana Derby three weeks ago) and #1 Shang (who is a neck away from being undefeated in five starts against Louisiana-breds for trainer Steve Asmussen).