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Kentucky Derby Prep Race Preview (Apr. 22)

2010 Kentucky Derby Handicapping – Road to the Derby – VOL. 12

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The Road to the Kentucky Derby- April 22nd

Leading up to horse racing’s premier event; the Kentucky Derby this May, there are close to 60 prep races between the beginning of the year and last weekend that not only shaped this year’s field, but provides a good idea as to which horses will go off as the favorite to win the Derby and possibly go on to earn the Triple Crown by winning the Preakness and the Belmont as well. Here is a brief re-cap of the final key stakes race from this season’s road to the Derby.

The Coolmore Lexington Stakes- Saturday April 17th from Keeneland

The Coolmore Lexington Stakes is a grade II stakes race for three year olds with a total prize purse of $300,000. It is contested on a Polytrack synthetic surface over a distance of 1 1/16 mile.

In what was the final opportunity for Derby hopefuls to acquire enough graded stakes earnings to qualify for the field in Kentucky, there was a field of 12 entered into Saturday’s race all looking to pull out a win.

While Uptowncharleybrown went off as the favorite, 19-1 Exhi went wire to wire to pull off yet another upset by a substantial long shot in a major stakes race. Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden in this race by Robby Albarado, be broke out of the gate and went right to the front of the pack, never relinquishing the lead to win by a length over Bushwhacked, who closed hard to take second. Uptowncharleybrown finished third, another ½ length back. Bet on the Kentucky Derby

While Exhi earned $180,000 for this victory, he still does not have enough combined earnings to move him into the top 20 so he is not guaranteed a spot in the Kentucky Derby at this time. Pletcher did not rule out running him in next Saturday’s Derby Trial to try and earn a spot.

This was Exhi’s first graded stakes race win as he finished sixth in his only other start which was as a two year old in the grade III Bourbon Stakes from Keeneland last October.  He did win the non graded Rushaway Stakes and finished second to Derby contender, Odysseus in a Tampa Bay allowance race on February 17th in his three year old debut.

Exhi’s victory in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes gave Pletcher his third straight win in this race and his fourth overall.  Advice won last year, Behindathebar won it in 2008, and Coin Silver won it for him in 2005.

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