The Triple Crown trail continued this weekend, sort of, with a couple of Grade 3 stakes races. The Lexington Stakes
offered 10 points towards a start in the 2014 Kentucky Derby
with a win, but none of the entrants had enough points to get into the field even with 10 more points. The Illinois Derby
does not award any points. Race favorite Midnight Hawk
already had enough points to run in the Derby if his connections choose. Even if none of these runners is in Louisville, there is always a chance of a Preakness and/or Belmont Stakes appearance.
The Lexington Stakes, at a mile and a sixteenth, was headlined by Mr Speaker
and Divine Oath
, two turf runners to this point in time. They were sent to the post as the top two choices and that is how they finished. Supermonic
and Solitary Ranger hooked up early on the lead in a quick 117 quarter mile. The battle continued all the way until the furlong pole, when Mr Speaker took over and drew clear to win by over four lengths. Divine Oath got up for second over Supermonic in the last few strides. The top three finishers recorded TimeformUS speed figures of 102, 95, and 94 respectively. It is unlikely either of these top two would be pointed to Triple Crown races given what appears to be a preference for turf or synthetic surfaces.
Pace/Speed figures for Lexington:
1/4: 117 1/2: 108 3/4: 94 1m: 99 Fin: 99
*Learn more about TimeformUS Speed Figures
The Illinois Derby, at a mile and one eighth, was run on Saturday for a $500,000 purse. California invader Midnight Hawk was favored heavily at 2-5 after a good second in the G3 Sunland Derby. Midnight Hawk took the early lead and was pressed by Dynamic Impact
for the first six furlongs. The pace figure was 100 at that point, and Midnight Hawk began to open up on his pursuer. He was a length and a half in front with a furlong to go, but Dynamic Impact began to come at him again. It came down to the wire, and Dynamic Impact was able to get up by a nose. It was nearly nine lengths back to Irish You Well
in third. Both of the top two were assigned TimformUS speed figures of 101.
Pace/Speed figures for Illinois Derby:
1/4: 103 1/2: 102 3/4: 100 1m: 100 Fin: 102
Once again, these are young horses that can and do improve quickly. This week it was Dynamic Impact making a huge jump, improving from a career best of 81 to a 101 TimeformUS speed figure. He was able to track a slow pace in his maiden win and run down Knock Em Flat. Knock Em Flat has since broken his maiden and run a good 2nd in the Northern Spur S. at Oaklawn Park. Mr Speaker also improved a few lengths over his career best.
Next Week: Derby Trial