04/20/2013 6:30PM

Lexington Stakes: Winning Cause enters Kentucky Derby picture

Barbara D. Livingston
Winning Cause (center) wins the Lexington Stakes by a length to give trainer Todd Pletcher a potential sixth starter in the May 4 Kentucky Derby.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – It’s always a case of the rich getting richer when Todd Pletcher sends out a winner, but the results of the Coolmore Lexington Stakes on Saturday at Keeneland provided an interesting twist to that familiar scenario.

Pletcher already had five horses ready to run in the 139th Kentucky Derby when another of his 3-year-olds, Winning Cause, jumped up and won the Grade 3, $200,000 Lexington with a good inside trip under Julien Leparoux. The colt earned 20 points toward eligibility for the Derby lineup and would seem to be in, if so desired – although Pletcher wasn’t about to immediately commit the colt to the May 4 race at Churchill Downs.

Just seconds after Winning Cause crossed under the wire a one-length winner over longshot General Election in the 1 1/16-mile Polytrack race, Pletcher was asked whether Winning Cause could be his sixth stable representative in the Derby.

“I’ve never thought he was good enough,” he said, smiling and shrugging his shoulders. “We’ll have to see.”

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

Winning Cause, by Giant’s Causeway, returned $15.60 as the fifth choice after finishing in 1:43.93. For Pletcher, it was his fifth winner in the Lexington from the last nine runnings.

After breaking from post 1 and saving ground in a field of 10 3-year-olds, Winning Cause took over from Cerro after turning for home in the 32nd Lexington and had enough to hold 34-1 General Election safe. Pick of the Litter was third, another neck back, with Cerro yet another neck back in fourth.

Sunbean, the 5-2 favorite, was fifth, while Pure Fun, the 7-2 second choice and the only filly in the field, ran seventh.

Pletcher said earlier in the week that he had not discussed the Derby for Winning Cause with the colt’s owner, Gil Moultray of Alto Racing LLC. After the Lexington, he said the topic would be addressed, although he did not seem to lean one way or the other on whether the colt would join Verrazano, Revolutionary, Overanalyze, Palace Malice, and Charming Kitten in his Derby army.

Only one more points race toward the Derby remains: the Derby Trial next Saturday on opening night of the Churchill spring meet. The Trial winner gets 20 points toward Derby eligibility.

The $2 exacta (1-10) paid $393.40, the $1 trifecta (1-10-2) returned $2,222.90, and the 10-cent superfecta (1-10-2-8) was worth a whopping $1,893.18.

Attendance on a cool, mostly sunny spring afternoon at Keeneland was 32,325.

• One race earlier Saturday, Sweet Cassiopeia ($6.20) ran her winning streak to five when pressing all the pace and going on to win the $100,000 Giant’s Causeway for filly-and-mare turf sprinters.

Joe Rocco Jr. was aboard Sweet Cassiopeia for trainer Bill Connelly. The 5-year-old mare is owned by Dan Considine and Steve Snowden and now has won half of her 18 career starts.

George Sudduth More than 1 year ago
terrible outing by sunbean.....ride wasn't particularly good either
John Nicoletti More than 1 year ago
Not enough time to run this nice colt in the Derby. Pletcher has a barn full of Derby prospects, why run this horse so soon.? There are plenty of races for this horse. Namely the Travers. He certainly has the pedigree to be a real nice colt.
Lise McLain More than 1 year ago
Hi! The video posted within this story is not working properly. Don't know if it is on my end or yours but the other videos worked nicely so what is wrong? It stops and then starts then stops and starts. Not fun to watch. Wow! Julien Laparoux wins again. He won two (2) stakes races last week, and he may be on Java's War for the Derby. Don't know as yet. Good for him! Thank you! Lise from Maine
Joey W More than 1 year ago
I would like to thank everyone who bet on the filly. You were nuts to think she had a chance
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Todd, enter 'Winning Cause' so I can put a line through him and its one less I have to deal with. I hate when trainers like McPeek predict an outcome.....Just run Baldy...
Roger More than 1 year ago
Nice prediction for that win McPeek.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
no big surprise here i think the best horse won i liked sunbean and this horse but Winning cause on this surface was a better bet he is now 3 for 3 at keenland..as far as the derby is concerned i would not bet him. Not because of distance i felt he would do well going long based on his breeding despite 2 poor results going long early on in is career but based on the fact that i think this is strictly a synthetics and turf horse and a keenland horse for course.
Craig More than 1 year ago
Pletcher with 30% of the Derby field could be a bettors dream.Everyone either hates or loves the guy,no middle ground.You either box em all or toss em all out.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
boxing them all would be a particularly bad bet in my humble opinion because he is 1 for 30 in the derby super saver beingh is only winner and i think he had 4 in a couple of years ago and none hit the board.pyro,circular quay,scatt daddy,bluegrass cat or maybe other combination i seem to recall.
George Sudduth More than 1 year ago
As I have said......let's have the Bafpletch Stakes or The Plechfert Mile; but all these horses in the derby..think I'll bet on Friday and not worry about the track on sat...tired of these 2 having all the horses.
Elias Katogiritis More than 1 year ago
Horse racing has become a joke, the winner of a glorified allowance race on POLYCRAP aka the Lexington stakes gets 20 points towards eligibility for the K.Derby meanwhile the winner of the Illinois Derby a $750G race on dirt gets no points something stinks,what a joke.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
true its all about money and control for churchill corp.
VanSavant More than 1 year ago
Me thinks that you simply don't have the necessary skills to root-out a decent winner on a Polytrack surface, so you resort to inane commentary. Work harder at learning the nuances of different surfaces and perhaps you will begin winning, and then you won't have to submit posts using terms such as "polycrap". Good luck. late vs
Black More than 1 year ago
Me thinks you just nailed it VS. What's for dinner tonight at CheZ VB ? ;)
Gene Milton More than 1 year ago
The guy simply says the Illinois Derby should count for something and that the Lex, run on poly, should not count as much toward who gets to qualify at Churchill. So far as we know, he might have hit the Lexington and lost at Hawthorne, yet still have the same opinion. The poly is usually not a great indicator of who's going to be best suited at the K Derby...based on the history.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
And he's right! There's dirty pool in the politics of CDI.
pennyandy More than 1 year ago
betting public was somehow hoodwinked by sending La. bred and filly off as favorites!
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
you would have to not be paying attention to be hoodwinked by a horse that was using the race as a prep for the oaks..she doesnt even need the points...why run hard if the real prize is only 2 weeks away.