In Due Time Looks to Secure Kentucky Derby Berth in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes
As the 2022 Kentucky Derby trail nears its final stage, Saturday’s Grade 3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland carries significant weight for several colts vying for a spot in the prestigious race. Among the contenders is In Due Time, a 3/1 second choice, who needs a victory in this 1 1/16-mile test to earn valuable Derby points and potentially secure a place in the 20-horse field on May 7.
The Last Chance for Kentucky Derby Points
The Lexington Stakes serves as the last opportunity for horses on the Derby trail to accumulate points. With a distribution of 20-8-4-2 for the top four finishers, the race attracts a field of colts eager to boost their standings and increase their chances of making it to Churchill Downs. This explains the presence of several unexpected contenders in the race.
In Due Time’s Promising Record
In Due Time, with a sturdy 2-1-1 record in four career starts, has consistently showcased his ability to perform well. Previously, he secured 20 Derby points with a second-place finish in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth, where he narrowly lost to Simplification. In addition, a notable Equibase Speed Figure of 100 from two starts ago further exemplifies his competitiveness. Unless any unforeseen circumstances occur, In Due Time is poised to be a formidable opponent in the Lexington Stakes.
The Enigmatic Tawny Port
Tawny Port, the 5/2 favorite, currently sits on the bubble with 40 Derby points. His runner-up finish to Tiz the Bomb in the Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks granted him the 20th spot in the Derby field. However, Tawny Port’s connections remain cautious due to his lackluster performance on dirt in the Grade 2 Risen Star, where he finished fifth. To solidify his place in the Kentucky Derby, a top-four finish is crucial for Tawny Port in the Lexington Stakes.
Ethereal Road’s Persistence
Trained by the legendary D. Wayne Lukas, Ethereal Road has persevered on the Derby trail, despite facing some challenges. After a strong second-place finish in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes, Ethereal Road faltered in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes, finishing seventh by a significant margin. With only 20 Derby points, Ethereal Road now needs a win in the Lexington Stakes to have a chance at entering the Kentucky Derby.
Major General and Call Me Midnight Seek Their Derby Shot
Two other notable contenders in the Lexington Stakes are Major General and Call Me Midnight. Major General, who previously won the Grade 3 Iroquois, experienced a disappointing last-place finish in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby. Trainer Todd Pletcher has chosen to add blinkers to help the colt regain focus and secure a much-needed victory.
Call Me Midnight, on the other hand, displayed promise by winning the Grade 3 Lecomte but encountered setbacks in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, finishing sixth. With a strong Equibase rating of 98 from the Lecomte, a return to form could give Call Me Midnight a fighting chance in the Lexington Stakes.
Lexington Stakes Contenders
- Midnight Chrome, 20/1 (Jose Ortiz/John Servis)
- In Due Time, 3/1 (Paco Lopez/Kelly Breen)
- We All See It, 15/1 (Luis Saez/Eddie Kenneally)
- Ethereal Road, 10/1 (Victor Espinoza/D Wayne Lukas)
- Howling Time, 15/1 (Joe Talamo/Dale Romans)
- Skate to Heaven, 30/1 (David Cohen/Robertino Diodoro)
- Major General, 4/1 (Irad Ortiz Jr./Todd Pletcher)
- Strava, 20/1 (Tyler Gaffalione/Dallas Stewart)
- Tawny Port, 5/2 (Florent Geroux/Brad Cox)
- Dash Attack, 10/1 (Flavien Prat/Kenny McPeek)
- Call Me Midnight, 6/1 (James Graham/Keith Desormeaux)
The Grade 3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland presents a thrilling opportunity for several colts to secure their spot in the 2022 Kentucky Derby. With the Kentucky Derby trail nearing its end, every point gained in this race is of great significance. In Due Time, Tawny Port, Ethereal Road, Major General, and Call Me Midnight are just a few of the contenders hoping for a breakthrough performance. As the race unfolds, the fate of these colts will be decided, and the anticipation for the Kentucky Derby will continue to build.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Can In Due Time secure a spot in the Kentucky Derby with a win in the Lexington Stakes?
While a win in the Lexington Stakes would boost In Due Time’s chances of earning a Kentucky Derby berth, it is not guaranteed. The final decision rests with the Derby selection committee, which evaluates various factors beyond points, such as overall performance and field strength.
2. Is Tawny Port at risk of missing the Kentucky Derby if he fails to secure a top-four finish in the Lexington Stakes?
Tawny Port currently holds the 20th and final spot for the Kentucky Derby due to his accumulated points. However, if he fails to finish among the top four in the Lexington Stakes, his standing may be jeopardized, and he will rely on other contenders’ outcomes to determine whether he retains his spot.
3. How has Ethereal Road fared on his journey to the Kentucky Derby?
Ethereal Road has faced both triumph and disappointment on the Derby trail. Despite a strong second-place finish in the Rebel Stakes, his performance in the Blue Grass Stakes was disappointing. With only 20 Derby points, Ethereal Road’s chances of making it to the Kentucky Derby hinge on securing a victory in the Lexington Stakes.
4. Will Major General’s addition of blinkers in the Lexington Stakes improve his performance?
Trainer Todd Pletcher has decided to equip Major General with blinkers, hoping to sharpen his focus and potentially enhance his performance in the Lexington Stakes. The addition of blinkers seeks to address any lack of attention or distractions that may have impacted his previous race.
5. What are the key challenges facing Call Me Midnight in the Lexington Stakes?
Call Me Midnight’s outside post position poses a tactical challenge as the horse will need to navigate a crowded field and contend with other horses’ movements. Jockey James Graham’s strategic choices will play a crucial role in providing Call Me Midnight with an opportunity to utilize his closing speed and secure a favorable result in the race.