Saturday play: Disarm brings class to Lexington Stakes

Saturday play: Disarm brings class to Lexington Stakes
Photo: Ben Breland / Eclipse Sportswire

Disarm heads into the Grade 3, $400,000 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland with graded stakes experience in tow and a chance to make the Kentucky Derby if he can finish in the exacta. But Disarm meets a promising group of 3-year-olds and needs his best effort to succeed.

Click here for Keeneland entries and results.

Is Disarm the right colt to trust? The final answer is below, as well as brief thoughts on the Grade 1, $600,000 Jenny Wiley Stakes featuring the speedy In Italian and a suggested double connecting the two races.

Keeneland Race 9: Lexington Stakes (G3)

If nothing else, Disarm brings the class advantage to this race even if he does not own standout speed figures.

In Disarm’s most recent start, he ran a deceptively good second in the Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds to Kingsbarns, who secured the lead uncontested and ticked off sluggish fractions without a real pace challenger. Despite the lack of pace, Disarm made up notable ground in the stretch and only lost by 3 1/2 lengths to the easy winner Kingsbarns.

Last August, Disarm also showed promise when he broke his maiden at Saratoga by an impressive 6 1/4 lengths. He went on the shelf afterwards and missed a chance to compete in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland.

Now Disarm gets a chance to show his talents on this track.

For those who want other options, Disarm does meet some interesting challengers. Trainer Brad Cox has brought two talented runners in Demolition Duke and First Mission, and both of them appear fast on paper based on speed figures. The former closed for second in a Fair Grounds optional claimer while only losing by a neck to Bishop’s Bay, while the latter broke his maiden by 6 1/4 lengths on the same track.

Demolition Duke and First Mission come off Lasix though and lack any graded stakes experience to draw back on. Those are not two obstacles to ignore. The same comment applies to Empirestrikesback, who broke his maiden at Gulfstream Park with a respectable TimeformUS figure.

As for the Bob Baffert-trained Arabian Lion, he needs to prove he can route. His last two races look too awful on paper to trust him right now.

Disarm is the right choice if his odds start reasonable.

Win: 6 (at 3-1 or higher)

Double: 6 / 2

Race 10: Jenny Wiley Stakes (G1)

On paper, it does not seem any filly or mare in this race can hang with In Italian, who loves to run in a free-wheeling fashion on the lead.

Although In Italian had a great overall campaign last year for trainer Chad Brown, she really started to blossom in the second half.

Back in August, In Italian wired the field in the Diana Stakes (G1) at Saratoga before doing the same over this course in the First Lady Stakes (G1). Afterwards, In Italian almost led from gate to wire in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Turf, but the European shipper Tuesday caught her in time. 

Given Tuesday’s European class, In Italian bettors should forgive her for not holding on. Earlier in the year, Tuesday won the prestigious Cazoo Oaks (G1) at Epsom. Later on, she also ran second in the Yorkshire Oaks (G1).

In this race, Queen Goddess and With the Moonlight might offer some challenge to In Italian, but they are not on the level of Tuesday, and they still need another filly or mare to sacrifice herself by dueling with In Italian.

As long as In Italian breaks well and controls the race, expect her to win.

Consider using In Italian as the lone choice in the second half of a double with Disarm. In Italian also works as a single in longer multi-race wagers.


Meet Reinier Macatangay

My first time at the racetrack came as a 5-year-old kid at Santa Anita Park. For most of my younger life, that was the only track I attended other the occasional visit to Hollywood Park. 

Years later, after graduating California State University, Stanislaus with an English MA, I began writing for Lady and the Track. From late 2014-2016, my articles were seen on a weekly basis and covered handicapping, interviews with well-known racing personalities, fashion and more. 

The handicapping style I use concentrates on pace analysis. Some horses are compromised by the pace. Others are helped. Handicappers just starting out cannot easily see how pace affects the finish, so with this blog, I hope to help those unsure of how to apply pace into their handicapping and post-race analysis. 

On an unrelated note, I enjoy video games and attending anime or comic-book conventions. I am currently based in Kentucky, but spend a lot of time traveling between there and California.

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