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Coolmore Lexington Stakes - Handicapping puzzle?

4/19/2013 7:53 PM
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 Saturday’s running of the 2013 Coolmore Lexington Stakes is one of the final prep races for the Kentucky Derby, and there is a minimal point distribution, for any horse that might be jockeying for position to get into the Derby.  Also an interesting note is that a filly, Pure Fun, has drawn into the race, and has been awarded the favorite’s role.  Out of the field of eleven, only three of the horses has any synthetic experience.  This race looks to be a handicapping enigma.  Most likely some of these horses might be appearing in the Preakness Stakes.  For now, let’s look at the field:

1         Winning Cause(5-1, Tr. Todd Pletcher; Jy. Julien Leparoux)  Whenever you mention the name, Todd Pletcher, a 3-year-old horse can be almost guaranteed a favorite’s role on the way to the Derby.  Though Triple Crown-nominated, he hasn’t achieved much, with the exception of going 2-for-2 at Keeneland.   Best synthetic experience among the contenders.

2         Pick Of The Litter(6-1, Tr. Dale Romans; Jy. Jesus Castanon)  Shipping in from only track he’s ever known, Gulfstream.  Last race was in the Florida Derby, but his race was nondescript.

3         River Rocks(12-1, Tr. Wayne Catalano; Jy. James Graham)   Also shipping in from Gulfstream, his last effort was his first going two turns(1 1/16 miles).  This race had him being bumped at the start, which might of compromised his race, costing him the victory as the favorite, finishing as the runner-up.  If this can be regarded as an excuse, he would be of good longshot value.

4         Hip Four Sixtynine(50-1, Tr. Bobby Barnett; Jy. Gabriel Saez)  Took seven races to break his maiden, and then he immediately graduated to two-turns, taking on Revolutionary in the Louisiana Derby.  Was up front in the beginning, but backed up severely.  Pass.

5         Where’s Dominic(20-1, Tr. Michael Trombetta; Jy. Edgar Prado)  Shipping in from only track he’s ever known, Laurel Park.  Last race was his first going two-turns(1 1/16 miles), in the Private Terms(ungraded).  He captured the lead at the head of the stretch, but backed up to fourth.  Getting blinkers for this race.  Maybe equipment change could step up performance?

6         Sunbean(4-1, Tr. Michael Maker; Jy. Gary Stevens)  Sunbean ships in from Fair Grounds, and acquires the services of legendary Gary Stevens.  His last effort in the Louisiana Derby had him being blocked, and steadied.  Excuse is legit.  Just don’t know if that’s reason to jump on board.

7         Examen(5-1, Tr. Thomas Proctor; Jy. Garrett Gomez)  Lightly-raced colt makes his fourth start, and tries synthetic for the first time.  He’s 2-for-2 for 2013, and is shipping in from Santa Anita.  Can’t read much into this one.

8         Cerro(5-1, Tr. Graham Motion; Jy. Joel Rosario)  Finished 6th in the Fountain Of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream last out, chasing Orb.  Laid off two months, and now returns in this contest.  Motion looks to be without a Derby horse, but, maybe he’s gearing up for the Preakness.  Rosario rode him early in his career, and now returns.  Layoff prior to this race seems to put up a warning flag?

9         Wings Of Fortune(20-1, Tr. Michael Maker; Jy. Calvin Borel)  Triple Crown-nominee is lightly-raced(three races).  Shipping in from Fair Grounds, which like several others, is the only track he’s raced over.  Puts in a bullet work.  Maybe that’s an indicator he’s ready?

10     General Election(15-1, Tr. Kellyn Gorder; Jy. Joseph Rocco, Jr)  General Election won the prep race to the Spiral Stakes, but ran up the track in the Spiral.  Trainer is unknown, but must have some ability, for WinStar Farms to side with this one.  Does have synthetic experience from Turfway.

11     Pure Fun(7-2, Tr. Kenneth McPeek; Jy. Rosie Napravnik)  Filly comes into this race, with connections prematurely thinking that they might not make the Kentucky Oaks.  Recent defection from that field makes her an entrant.  Still, they will try this race for conditioning purposes up to the Oaks(possibly).  This will be only her second start of 2013 for a good trainer/jockey combo. 





The lukewarm pick will be #2 Pick of the Litter.  Let’s go with $20 win, and a $3 exacta box of #2, #3 River Rocks(throw out last race due to bump), #5 Where’s Dominic(equipment change) & #8 Cerro(like trainer).  Total bet- $56.

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Older Comments about Coolmore Lexington Stakes - Handicapping puzzle?...

Since #5 has scratched out of the race, the change I'll go with, is to insert the #10 General Election. If you can find a reason for crossing a line through that last race, I could play a "hunch" by saying that WinStar has had some success in this game. It is interesting that the trainer is a virtual unknown. Maybe WinStar knows something?