Lexington draw: 2 starters may turn down Kentucky Derby

Lexington draw: 2 starters may turn down Kentucky Derby
Photo: Hodges Photography

Even though two horses entered in Saturday’s $200,000 Lexington Stakes (G2) could use the race at Keeneland as a last chance to get into the Kentucky Derby, it was not evident before Wednesday morning’s draw that either would seize on that opportunity.

Proxy and Hockey Dad were among the 10 horses drawn into this weekend’s 1 1/16-mile race that is a last-chance, 20-8-4-2 points qualifier for the Derby. Trainer Mike Stidham, however, said Proxy was “unlikely” for the Derby, even if he were to finish in the top two Saturday to make the field of 20.

“He’s already run some big races in Louisiana,” said Stidham, referring to runner-up finishes in the Lecomte (G3) and Risen Star (G2) and a fourth-place finish 18 days ago in the Louisiana Derby (G2). “We are hoping for another big effort and hopefully another step forward.”

A homebred Godolphin colt sired by Tapit, Proxy has 34 qualifying points, ranking him 20th among currently active Kentucky Derby candidates. The cut line had been 40, but with the defection in recent days of Greatest Honour, Weyburn and UAE Derby (G2) winner Rebel’s Romance, it may drop to 34.

Connections for Hockey Dad, including breeder-owner Paul Reddam and trainer Doug O’Neill, have not said whether they would send their colt to the Derby to try and follow in the victorious 2016 footsteps of his sire Nyquist.

A two-time allowance winner, Hockey Dad was a late Triple Crown nominee who finished third only 11 days ago in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park. That gave him 20 points, meaning a victory Saturday could make him Derby-eligible.

With the 100-40-20-10 Arkansas Derby (G1) also scheduled Saturday, qualifying for the Kentucky Derby remains fluid. While favored Concert Tour already has the points he needs, Hozier, Get Her Number, Caddo River and Super Stock are fighting for one, two and maybe three berths from Oaklawn to get to Louisville.

Canceled last year when the start of the COVID pandemic wiped out the Keeneland spring meet, the Lexington has produced only one Kentucky Derby starter – My Boy Jack in 2018 – in its last eight renewals. Charismatic won the 1999 Lexington before becoming the last Derby winner to come out of the race.

2021 Lexington (G3)

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