2012 Coolmore Lexington Stakes Picks

Morgan's Guerrila A field of eleven three-year-olds will line up in Saturday’s $200,000 Coolmore Lexington (G3) at Keeneland, and there are a couple of runners in the field that could still sneak their way into the starting gate for the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby (G1) in two weeks.

The Bob Baffert trained Castaway is the 5-2 morning line favorite and is looking to bounce back off a seventh place finish in the Sunland Derby (G3) in his last outing.

The colt won one of the divisions of the Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn Park in his previous start.

The son of 20007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense has $162,000 in graded earnings which puts him 25th on the money list. A victory would produce a payday of $120,000, which would give the colt enough to secure a starting spot in Louisville if his connections want to bring him back in two weeks.

Illinois Derby (G3) runner up Morgan’s Guerrilla has $100,000 in graded earnings and if he wins the $220,000 in his bankroll would be good enough for 22nd on the money list.

Hero of Order ($617,375) is tenth on the list but is not Triple Crown nominated, so the colt likely would just need one defection to make his way into the Derby field.

In 1999 Charismatic parlayed his win in the Lexington, coming back on short rest to pull off the upset in the Kentucky Derby for trainer D. Wayne Lukas, returning $26.20.

Saturday’s feature at Aqueduct is also for three-year-olds as a field of seven will go in the $200,000 Jerome (G2) at one mile on the main track.

Sunland Derby third place finisher Stirred Up and Wood Memorial (G1) fifth place finisher The Lumber Guy are the major players, but neither is pointing toward Louisville.

Michael Dempsey provides his selections for Aqueduct and Keeneland each racing day.  Mike’s Best Plays Report is available each weekend, with his strongest plays and selections including the top stakes races.

Check out Michael Dempsey’s Derby Watch Elite Eight at Fox Sports each Wednesday.

Let’s head out to Keeneland for Saturday’s featured race of the day:

Keeneland Race 9 The Coolmore Lexington (G3) Post time 5:13 ET
Summer Front 9-2
Castaway 3-1
Morgan’s Guerrilla 6-1
Golden Ticket 6-1

Summer Front makes his first start since December where the colt was a good looking winner of the Dania Beach going a mile on the grass, winning his third straight race to start off his career. The colt broke his maiden last fall at Belmont Park going six furlongs on turf, and then followed that u by winning the King Cugat at the Big A in his first start against winners. The colt has spent his winter at Payson Park where he has been working quickly for his three year old debut for the Clement barn that is 19% winners (with a +ROI) with horse coming back off a 61-180 day layoff. The colt is a half to stakes winner Laragh ($581K) who won a stake on turf here at Keeneland and won over the synthetic surface at Hollywood park winning the Hollywood Starlet (G1).

Castaway dueled for the early lead and ran out of gas, fading to finish a well beaten seventh in the Sunland Derby (G3) as the beaten favorite. The colt took six tries to break his maiden, and then won the Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn Park in his first start against winners, overcoming a tough post. He started his career on poly at Del Mar, checking in second and fifth in his first two career outings. The fact Baffert ships this guy here seems to indicate he just got cooked at Sunland Park or did not care much for the surface and should bounce back here. He should be able to handle poly as he is by Street Sense out of a Storm Cat mare.

Morgan’s Guerrilla put in a solid effort in a runner up finish in the Illinois Derby (G3) in his first go against winners. The colt raced five wide heading down the backstretch, got to the lead in the stretch and could not hold off the late running Done Talking, coming up ¾ of a length short of the top spot. The Mike Maker barn takes the blinkers off today as the colt makes his first start over polytrack. Leparoux takes the call and this guy still appears to have some upside making just his fourth career start, catching off tracks in his first two career starts.

WIN: Summer Front to win at 3-1 or better.
EXACTA: 2,7 / 1,2,5,7
TRIFECTA: 2,7 / 1,2,5,7 / 1,2,5,7,10

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