04/13/2017 11:00AM

Lexington has look of Preakness prep

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Barbara D. Livingston
West Coast will face winners for the first time in Saturday's Lexington Stakes.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – There will be no Kentucky Derby for whoever wins the Lexington Stakes. The Preakness, maybe, or at least that’s the way history has been leaning lately.

Regardless, the Grade 3, $200,000 Lexington carries its own measure of import and prestige, and a lineup of 10 3-year-olds in the 1 1/16-mile race Saturday at Keeneland comes about as well matched as can be. More than half the field can claim a realistic chance at victory, which comes with 10 Derby eligibility points that surely will go unused.

No Dozing, owned by the Lael Stables of Barbaro fame, will be among the core of lukewarm Lexington favorites, with his backers hoping the homebred colt can improve over two mostly disappointing efforts at Tampa Bay Downs this winter. Joel Rosario has the mount from post 4.

“I don’t think he liked the track at Tampa,” trainer Arnaud Delacour surmised. “He ran well here last fall” when fourth behind Classic Empire in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity.

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Two years ago, Lael and Delacour won the Lexington with Divining Rod, who proceeded to finish third behind American Pharoah in the Preakness in his next start. The 2016 Lexington winner, Collected, also ran back in the Preakness, finishing 10th for trainer Bob Baffert.

West Coast (post 10, Flavien Prat) has been shipped here from California by Baffert and is another colt sure to take a fair share of wagering action in this 36th running of the Lexington, along with Resiliency (post 1, Florent Geroux), Souper Tapit (post 2, Robby Albarado), Senior Investment (post 3, Channing Hill), and Time to Travel (post 5, Edgar Prado).

The Lexington directly precedes the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley as the ninth of 11 Saturday races, with post time set for 5:34 p.m. Eastern. Easily the most memorable winner in race history was Charismatic, who wheeled back to capture the 1999 Kentucky Derby when the Lexington was still run two weeks before the Derby.

KEY CONTENDERS

No Dozing, by Union Rags

Last 3 Beyers: 87-79-82

◗ After the Breeders’ Futurity, he was second in the Grade 2 Remsen at Aqueduct, a race that has continued to grade out poorly. The upside is that this is the third race in his form cycle and comes over a surface where he has run well.

West Coast, by Flatter

Beyers: 82-91

◗ Blinkers go on the lightly raced colt, who can claim the highest Beyer Speed Figure in the field, although he has been assigned a difficult post and makes his first start against winners while exiting a mere three-horse race.

Senior Investment, by Discreetly Mine

Last 3 Beyers: 83-78-78

◗ Trainer Ken McPeek is bullish on this late-running colt, who won an Oaklawn Park allowance before finishing sixth behind Girvin in the Louisiana Derby.

Souper Tapit, by Tapit

Beyers: 81-76

◗ Stretch runner represents the connections (Live Oak and Mark Casse) that won back-to-back graded stakes here last Saturday with Awesome Slew and Holding Gold.

Time to Travel, by Hard Spun

Beyers: 88-80

◗ He’s the obvious speed in here after a sharp maiden victory on the Florida Derby undercard.

◗ Makes his first start in the care of trainer Michael Matz.

Resiliency, by Malibu Moon

Last 3 Beyers: 86-74-55

◗ Rail-drawn colt ran easily his best race in his last, capturing a March 5 allowance at Fair Grounds for trainer Steve Asmussen.