Jockey Club Tour on Fox Hits Keeneland for Lexington Stakes

Michael Dempsey@turfnsportFeatured ColumnistApril 9, 2015

Horses break from the gate to start the 91st running of the Blue Grass Stakes horse race at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, April. 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)
Garry Jones/Associated Press

After stops in California and Dubai, the Jockey Club Tour on Fox lands in Lexington, Kentucky, on Saturday for a pair of nationally televised horse races from scenic Keeneland. 

The $250,000 Coolmoore Lexington (G3) is a Road to the Kentucky Derby points race, and fillies and mares will start things off in the 27th running of the $300,000 Jenny Wiley (G1) going 1 1/16 miles on the turf course.

The one-hour telecast will air at 4:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 and will be streamed live on Fox Sports Go. The on-air duties will be handled by Greg Wolf, Richard Migliore, Andy Serling, Simon Bray and Alyssa Ali.

While the Lexington is a Derby points race, it is doubtful any of seven will be in Louisville for the Run for the Roses. Only two of the participants have earned points.

Divining Rod has 10 points thanks to his third-place finish in the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) on March 7, putting him 35th in the Road to the Kentucky Derby points standings. If he wins, he picks up another 10 points, but that would still leave him outside the top 20.

Tiznow R J has seven points, earning points for his third-place finish in the LeComte (G3) at Fair Grounds and his fourth-place result in the Sunland Derby (G3).

The duo, along with Comfort and Henry Jones, are Triple Crown nominated, and we could see them May 16 in Baltimore at Pimlico Race Course for the Preakness Stakes (G1), the second jewel of the Triple Crown.

The Lexington has had an impact on the Run for the Roses in previous years, with Swale (1984) and Charismatic (1999) using the race as a prep and then winning the Kentucky Derby.

The final Derby points race is Saturday at Oaklawn Park with a field of eight who will go in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1). The race is worth 100-40-20-10 points to the top four finishers.

The heavy favorite will be American Pharoah, who is 1-2 on the morning line. The Bob Baffert trainee is the early wagering favorite for the Kentucky Derby at odds of 9-2, according to Odds Shark.

The Jenny Wiley will be run one race before the Lexington and drew a competitive field of eight fillies and mares. Seven will go to the post as Emotional Kitten was entered but will scratch after having run on Thursday.

The defending champion is Hard Not to Like, who won the Endevour (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs on Jan. 31 in his first start since winning the Jenny Wiley last year.

The mare was sold at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale for $1.5 million and now races for Speedway Stable and is trained by Christophe Clement.

 

Selections for the Jenny Wiley: Ball Dancing-Filimbi-Hard Not to Like

Ball Dancing returns off nearly a five-month layoff with a good effort in a runner up finish in the Hillsborough (G3) at Tampa Bay behind the talented Stephanie's Kitten. She made two starts in the U.S. after landing with the Chad Brown barn, winning the Sands Point (G2) and then running a game second here last fall in the QEII Cup (G1). She should move forward with a race under her belt for a sharp barn.

 

Selections for Coolmore Lexington: Comfort-Divining Rod-Tiznow R J

Comfort returns off a two-month break and makes his first start for the Todd Pletcher barn, the connections purchasing this colt privately after his maiden score at Fair Grounds in his first start on dirt. The colt raced on grass in his first two career outings, which resulted in a couple of fourth-place finishes. Pletcher is strong with newcomers to the barn, and this colt still appears to have plenty of upside. He should get a good trip sitting off what could be a lively early pace.

 

Odds are provided by Odds Shark.

Follow Michael Dempsey on Twitter @turfnsport.