Updated on 09/16/2011 7:47AM

Finality faces owner's Lexington curse


ELMONT, N.Y. - Cot Campbell has twice seen his horse cross the finish line first in the Lexington Stakes, but has never been able to savor victory in the Grade 3 turf race for 3-year-old colts and geldings.

In 1980, Proctor finished first only to be disqualified for interference. In 1999, Mythical Gem registered a gate-to-wire victory, but suffered a condylar fracture. He was vanned off the track and later euthanized.

Campbell and his partners in Dogwood Stable hope for better luck in Sunday's 38th running of the Lexington with Finality, a New York-bred son of Dehere who is 2 for 2 this year and 3 for 3 over the Belmont Park turf course.

With a glut of races for 3-year-old turf horses at this time of year, the Lexington, run at 1 1/4 miles, drew a modest field of eight. Emergency Status, who won the Grade 3 Jersey Derby in May, is the lone graded-stakes winner in the field and must carry 122 pounds while conceding the remainder of the field eight pounds.

Finality has three wins and two seconds from five turf starts. His only losses came by a neck to Miesque's Approval in the Pilgrim and by 1 1/4 lengths to Political Attack in the Mecke Stakes last year. This year, both of his turf wins have come at 1 1/16 miles against New York-bred company.

Trainer Todd Pletcher expects Finality to be forwardly placed on Sunday, and hopes his affinity for Belmont's turf course can help him navigate the 1 1/4 miles. Finality will break from post 5 under John Velazquez.

"My only concern is he's never been a mile and a quarter," Pletcher said. "But he's 3 for 3 over the course, we don't have to ship, and there's no indication to think he wouldn't [get the distance]. But you don't know until you try."

Finality figures to be up close along with Emergency Status, who won the Jersey Derby gate to wire at 55-1 in May. When Emergency Status tried to stretch his speed out to nine furlongs in the Choice Stakes, he finished third behind Kris's Prayer. Emergency Status drew the rail.

The best-bred horse in the race is the Juddmonte Farms homebred Chiselling. Though still eligible for an entry-level allowance, Chiselling is a half-brother to Grade 1 winners Chester House and Honest Lady and the Grade 2 winner Decarchy. The Bobby Frankel-trained colt made a powerful late run to win his maiden at Hollywood Park on May 12 before encountering trouble when beaten a head in an optional claimer last month. Jerry Bailey rides from post 8.

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