04/19/2017 10:09AM

Road to the Derby: Lexington Stakes analysis

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Coady Photography
Senior Investment wins the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland under Channing Hill.

Grade 3, $200,000 Lexington Stakes; 1 1/16 miles; Keeneland; April 15, 2017
(10 Derby qualifying points for a win, 4 for second, 2 for third, 1 for fourth)

Winner: Senior Investment, by Discreetly Mine
Trainer: Kenny McPeek
Jockey: Channing Hill
Owner: Fern Circle Stables
Beyer Speed Figure: 89

With its low point value and position on the same day as the Arkansas Derby, which has 10 times the point value toward the Kentucky Derby, the Lexington did not lure any horses with serious designs on the Derby, though it could produce runners for the Preakness and Belmont stakes.

SENIOR INVESTMENT, wheeled back just two weeks after finishing sixth in the Louisiana Derby, just got up in time to capture the Lexington in a three-horse photo. The winning Beyer Figure was nothing to boast about, but Senior Investment has crossed the wire first in four of his last five starts – he was disqualified for interference in a controversial decision in one of those races – so he’s certainly competitive when spotted prudently, as he was here. It’s likely he’ll make his next start in the Preakness.

In the Lexington, Senior Investment lacked speed and saved ground into the first turn while toward the rear of the field. After racing well back down the backstretch, he began an earnest rally on the far turn, saved quite a bit of ground on that turn before being angled out entering the lane to about the four path, and closed best of all to prevail. Saving ground on the far turn was paramount to this victory, so full credit to Hill for a terrific ride.

WEST COAST, who was second, could not get over from his outside stall and went into the first turn about four paths wide, was able to split horses entering the far turn, and launched a bid three paths wide while being asked for his all a quarter-mile out. He overtook TIME TO TRAVEL entering the lane, but couldn’t quite last.

NO DOZING, who was third, broke well, was jostled by SOUPER TAPIT while between horses entering the first turn, checked and lost position, became a bit aggressive entering the backstretch, advanced along the inside down the backstretch while Joel Rosario attempted to rate him, and got stopped behind RESILIENCY when Resiliency retreated three furlongs out. No Dozing rallied anew and came into the stretch in the four path, gained on West Coast, but was outfinished by Senior Investment in deep stretch.

Time to Travel, who was fourth, broke a half-step slowly but quickly got in gear and vied for the early lead while in the two path around the first turn. Souper Tapit split Time to Travel and Resiliency down the backstretch, so Time to Travel went into the far turn in the three path. He took the lead midway on the turn, was passed by West Coast a furlong out, remained on his wrong lead all the way to the wire, and tired.

LOOKIN AT BLESSING, who finished fifth, angled over from an outside post and went into the first turn about two to three paths wide while toward the back of the pack, was asked for his best on the far turn, and made little impact, then passed tired rivals in the lane. 

CONVICT PIKE, who was sixth, raced between horses in the two path while just behind the leaders around the first turn, was even with West Coast and No Dozing entering the far turn, but was simply outrun from that point while racing in the two path.

Souper Tapit, who was seventh, broke poorly, advanced into the first turn and then checked hard behind Resiliency while careening into No Dozing, saved ground just behind Resiliency into the backstretch while rank, knifed between Resiliency and Time to Travel down the backstretch, briefly took the lead when Resiliency stopped, was immediately tackled by Time to Travel, but was through by the top of the lane and faded.

HE’S MUNNIE, who was eighth, took up a stalking position in the three path while just behind the leaders around the first turn, stayed in the middle of the track down the backstretch, went into the far turn four paths wide while alongside West Coast, then backed up.

CAPT. GRIDER, who was ninth, raced in the clear in last in the three path around the first turn, lost contact with the field down the backstretch, and was always far, far back.

Resiliency, who finished last of 10, was sent along from his rail draw to vie for the lead along the inside into the first turn, led narrowly to the far turn, but then stopped and was pretty much eased through the lane.