04/15/2011 12:15PM

Keeneland: Jaycito on target for Lexington

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Benoit & Associates
Jaycito, with Mike Smith up, wins the Norfolk.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The big-money chances to make the 137th Kentucky Derby thin out considerably once the $1 million Arkansas Derby and $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes have been run Saturday. A handful of lesser preps remain, perhaps most notably at Keeneland next Saturday, April 23, with the $200,000 Coolmore Lexington, a 1 1/16-mile Polytrack race for which Jaycito figures to be favored.

KENTUCKY DERBY NEWS: Track all the 3-year-olds on the Triple Crown trail

Jaycito was scratched from the April 9 Santa Anita Derby because of a sore foot but was able to resume training the following Monday for trainer Bob Baffert and is on course for the Grade 3 Lexington. The colt was scheduled to arrive Monday at Churchill Downs with other horses being flown from southern California.

Jaycito was 17th on the graded earnings list as of Friday with $250,000 and would cement his chances of making the 20-horse cutoff for the Derby by earning a check in the Lexington.

Meanwhile, trainer Steve Asmussen said Friday that Silver Medallion, fourth in the Santa Anita Derby, is “a possibility” to run back in the Lexington.

“He just came in [Thursday], and I want to see how he does before we make a decision,” he said. Entries will be drawn Wednesday.

Silver Medallion, owned by Mike Ryan, is on the Derby bubble with $184,334 in graded money. The colt might have something of an edge by running in the Lexington, as he won the El Camino Real Derby on the Tapeta synthetic surface at Golden Gate Fields in February.

Prime Cut, a recent allowance winner at Fair Grounds for Neil Howard, is among the other possibilities from the 32 3-year-olds nominated to the Lexington.

Other remaining graded 3-year-old races on the Derby trail are the $150,000 Jerome Handicap, also set for next Saturday at Aqueduct, and the $200,000 Derby Trial on April 30, opening night of the Churchill spring meet.

Napravnik starts winning

Jockey Rosie Napravnik had gone 0 for 21 to start the Keeneland meet when she found herself in a prolonged duel in the second race Thursday aboard Friscan, a highly regarded 2-year-old making his career debut. Friscan ($4.40) would finally grind out a neck victory over Rockstar Richie.

“I was like, ‘Oh god, not another second!’” Napravnik said afterward. “This feels great to get off the duck.”

Napravnik would notch her second victory of the meet in the last race Thursday, a 1 1/16-mile turf race, when she guided another first-time starter, Safe Crossing ($31.60), to a 1 1/4-length score for trainer Jonathan Sheppard.

Napravnik, 23, was the runaway leading rider at the recently ended Fair Grounds meet. She is scheduled to become the sixth woman to ride in the Kentucky Derby with Pants On Fire.

Dubious Miss gets Borel

Besides the Grade 2 Beaumont Stakes, the nine-race Sunday card also includes three allowances, ending with race 9, a $66,000 turf route with money-won conditions. Dubious Miss, winner of the Grade 3 Ben Ali here last spring, was assigned post 5 in a field of eight older horses and will be the first mount of the meet for Calvin Borel, the three-time Kentucky Derby winning jockey who has been active at the Oaklawn Park meet that ends Saturday.

Dubious Miss, the curiously named 7-year-old gelding, is 8 for 25 lifetime, but 7 for 10 with Borel aboard.

In the other Sunday allowance races, Banned figures to be favored in race 3, a $58,000 turf mile, when making his first start since contesting the pace and finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last fall, while a well matched field of older horses will clash in race 4, a $54,000 Polytrack route.

Asmussen has faith in Awesome Act

Awesome Act, a disappointing ninth here Wednesday in his first race in nearly a year, a first-level turf allowance, “came out of his race in good shape,” said Asmussen. “Obviously it didn’t go as planned, but hopefully we can go on from there.”

Last spring at 3, Awesome Act won the Gotham Stakes and was third in the Wood Memorial before finishing 19th at 11-1 in the Kentucky Derby, exiting that race with a staph infection.

◗ Swift Warrior underwent what trainer John Terranova termed successful surgery at the Rood and Riddle equine clinic to repair a lateral non-displaced condylar fracture sustained Wednesday in a workout at Keeneland. Swift Warrior, winner of the March 26 Rushaway at Turfway Park, was being pointed to the Blue Grass. The colt was scheduled to return to the Terranova barn by this weekend.

◗ Churchill has announced its lineup of award-winning chefs for the second annual Taste of Derby event, set for the Thursday night of Derby week, May 5, at the Mellwood Arts and Entertainment Center in Louisville. Last year the event raised more than $75,000 for hunger relief organizations. Tickets are $275, with more information available at tasteofderby.com.

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