RT picks the Lexington at Keeneland, offers trainer and jockey stats for meet before final Kentucky Derby prep
Rt’s Spot Plays
Follow Me @RtsSpot
With only 20 days left before the 148th Kentucky Derby, some interesting trends have surfaced for jockeys and trainers this meet at Keeneland. Perhaps Louisville will be better for some of these professionals than Lexington has been.
Wesley Ward got off the schneid yesterday with a 2yo win and now is 1/5 in that space. Ward is 1/7 (14%) in maiden claimers, a stout 3/7 (43%) in allowance level races, 4/7 (57%) on turf and 2/7 (40%) in stakes races. On the asset side of the ledger, Ward is 6/20 (30%) in sprint races.
Brad Cox went 1/4 in routes yesterday, where he has struggled, going 2/11 (18%). Cox has been solid in stakes races going 2/5 (40%) and 2/5 in Maiden Claimers (40%). He sucks in allowance races winning just 1/9 (11%), yet his sprint record is an excellent 3/8, or 38%. Cox has also stunk it up in turf races, getting a goose egg in 5 tries
Wanna arbitrarily bet Chad Brown? Not so fast my friend. Chad has been a very un-Chad Brown grass trainer at Keeneland, only saddling 1 winner in 10 tries. His route runners are fine with a 27% win streak, yet he has not won a sprint, going goose egg for 7. Chad has attempted 7 stakes and only won 1 of them for a putrid 14%. So, betting Chad Brown is not a layup unless it is a dirt route that is not a stakes event. We will see today if his seven entrants regain his elite status.
Victoria Oliver has been a monster in sprints going 2/3 (67) and 2/5 (40%) in maiden claimers.
H. Graham Motion is 1/4 (25%) in maiden claimers and he is doing a thumping in stakes, hitting 2/3, or 67%. He is also 3/8 (38%) in routes
Todd Pletcher stinks in maiden claimers going 0/3, is 25% in allowance races, and has come up empty in his 2 attempts on grass. In route races, he is 2/12 (17%) and he has won 1 of 5 stakes races. His 5 entrants today may change his lower numbers.
For jockeys, Gerardo Corrales is fire, winning 5/15 or 33%. He is 2/3 (67%) with 2yo’s, 2/5 (40%) on turf, and 3/5 in allowance company.
I thought Flavien Prat would dominate at Keeneland, and he started out strong. Of late, however, he has struggled, primarily on turf (0/9) and in routes (2/20). The man does get it done in big stakes races, hitting 38% winners and in sprints, taking home 5/11 for 45%
· Whatever your opinion of Irad Ortiz is, there is no denying his capabilities - 22% overall, 36% on turf, 32% in routes and he has struggled with sprints at just 11%. A bet on Irad to bring one in the money is an impressive 57% prop.
Keeneland’s current wins leader, Tyler Gaffalione, is an excellent 29% overall, an astounding 3/4 (75%) when favorited, 30% in routes, 25% on turf, and 29% in stakes races.
When you are handicapping the card today, be aware that in routes, Florent Geroux is 1/15, Brian Hernandez is 1/16, Joel Rosario is 0-fer 11, Jose Ortiz is 1/9, and Corey Lanerie is 1/10. All five of these men are fine jockeys, they just so happen to be struggling at this venue.
Keeneland Race 9 – The Grade 3 Lexington Stakes
3yo’s going 8.5 miles
20-8-4-2 Kentucky Derby points are up for grabs in this Grade 3 $400K Lexington Stakes today. 9-Tawny Port (5/2) has 40 points and may get in with defections. 4-Ethereal Road (10/1) and 2-In Due Time (3/1), have 20 points, and 11-Call Me Midnight (6/1), 7-Major General (4/1), and 10-Dash Attack (10/1), have 10 points apiece.
Answering the question of who is motivated to get to the Derby, D. Wayne Lukas is quickly bringing back Ethereal Road after running the Quality Road colt last Saturday in the Bluegrass. Brad Cox has entered Tawny Port after running two weeks ago in the Grade 3, $600K Jeff Ruby Stakes at Turfway. As mentioned before, Florent Geroux is 1/15 in routes at Keeneland, so Tawny Port is a toss. Victor Espinoza jets in to ride Ethereal Road and from all appearances, he has not even gotten on the back of this horse. I will pass on him in favor of 5-Howling Time (15/1), who, as the clocker at Gulfstream commented, “has shown flashes of real talent at times.” I am thinking that 1:00.3 work is indicative of that flash.