04/16/2012 11:54AM

Keeneland: Lexington Stakes unlikely to produce Kentucky Derby starter

Bob Coglianese
Reveron (right) will take his chances on making the Derby field with $220,000 in graded earnings.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Keeneland racing officials are looking for a field of perhaps 10 3-year-olds to run Saturday in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes, but with the apparent defection of Reveron, none of those horses has a realistic chance to make the Kentucky Derby field.

Reveron, a Florida-based colt owned by Stipa Racing and trained by 59-year-old Agustin Bezara, is booked to ship straight to Churchill Downs in Louisville on Sunday. Keeneland had been listing Reveron as a prospect for the Lexington, but Bezara, who speaks very little English, said through an interpreter Monday from his Calder base that he will take his chances on what happens with the graded earnings list that governs Derby eligibility.

“Of course we want to run in the Derby,” he said.

Reveron, the longshot runner-up in the March 31 Florida Derby, has graded earnings of $220,000, which has him on the Derby bubble. Dismissed at 31-1 in the Florida Derby, Reveron gave closest chase to the front-running winner Take Charge Indy throughout the 1 1/8-mile race, finishing a length back in second. Union Rags, the 2-5 favorite, was another neck back in third.

The purse for the Lexington is $200,000, with $120,000 going to the winner and $40,000 for second. None of the following probable starters in the 31st Lexington stand to make enough to advance to the Derby: All Squared Away, Gold Megillah, Golden Ticket, Hammers Terror, Holiday Promise, Johannesbourbon, Morgan’s Guerilla, News Pending, Stirred Up, and Summer Front. Entries will be taken and drawn Wednesday.

In regard to its spot as a Derby prep, the Lexington has been relegated to irrelevance this year not only because there are so many Derby hopefuls with high earnings, but also because the Lexington purse is not what it once was. From 1998 to 2010, the purse ranged from $300,000 to $350,000 before being lowered to $200,000 for the 2011 running.

Besides the Lexington, only two other graded races that could conceivably get a horse into the Derby remain: the $200,000 Jerome at Aqueduct, also on Saturday, and the $200,000 Derby Trial on April 28 at Churchill.