04/16/2013 2:14PM

Lexington Stakes: Examen not using race as Kentucky Derby prep

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Benoit & Associates
Grade 1-winning filly Pure Fun might be favored against males in Saturday's Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The winner of the Coolmore Lexington Stakes on Saturday at Keeneland will earn 20 “wild card” points toward eligibility for the May 4 Kentucky Derby, which at this juncture looks like enough points to crack the 20-horse lineup.

Tom Proctor, who will send out Examen in the Lexington, doesn’t much care.

“I don’t need anybody or any points to tell me whether I have a Derby horse or not,” Proctor said with his usual candor. “He’s not even nominated.”

Nonetheless, Proctor said Examen might well be good enough to win the Grade 3, $200,000 Lexington, for which about 10 3-year-olds were expected when entries were drawn Wednesday. Examen, a chestnut by Giant’s Causeway, has won both his starts since being gelded last fall and looks like one of the top contenders in the 1 1/16-mile Polytrack race.

“He’s a May foal and just starting to figure things out,” Proctor said.

Bred and owned by Charles and Scott Heider, Examen “doesn’t need to go through all that [Derby] grind,” Proctor said. “I’d actually like to win the Swaps with him this summer at Hollywood Park. I was going to leave him out in California, but we thought he might like the synthetic, so we brought him this way to find out.”

Another Lexington prospect by Giant’s Causeway who sports plenty of upside is Winning Cause, whose trainer, Todd Pletcher, also said he and the colt’s owner, the Alto Racing LLC of Gil Moultray, are likely to pass on the Derby even in the case of victory Saturday.

“We have no thoughts of the Derby at this time,” said Pletcher, who already has as many as five starters for the Derby.

Winning Cause streaked home a winner in a Polytrack allowance sprint during the opening weekend of the Keeneland spring meet and is 2 for 2 over the local surface.

Pure Fun, a Grade 1-winning filly whose connections are hoping to use the Lexington as a springboard to the May 3 Kentucky Oaks, could be a slight favorite over her male opposition Saturday. Other probables for the race include Cerro, Hip Four Sixty Nine, Johnny Handsome, Pick of the Litter, Title Contender, and Where’s Dominic.

chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Gotta like Proctor's style!
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
I don't get the 20 points is enough to get in the derby as far as I can tell no 20 right now is dens legacy with 20 points then there are 3 more horses with 20 points the horse in 19th has 30 points..so even if you get 3 defections 20 points is iffy.
Tim More than 1 year ago
I think folks are expecting a few more defections above Den's Legacy... Super Ninety Nine is a good example. In addition, it is extremely likely that at least a couple of the higher-up horses will come up lame pre-Derby. It happens every year. 20 points will very likely get you in if you want to go.
Nicholas Heaven More than 1 year ago
cerro wins
Joe Rockhold More than 1 year ago
I like Cerro as well.