Lexington Stakes Betting: Kentucky Derby Contenders Battle at Keeneland

Matthew Stockman

Kentucky Derby contenders Sunbeam and Cerro will jockey for points in the Lexington Stakes, but one filly is aiming for a spot in the Kentucky Oaks. Pre Fun breaks from the 11 position Saturday.

The Grade 3 $200,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes could prove to be a prep race for the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.

But, for a filly taking on the boys Saturday, the ultimate goal is the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on May 3.

The Ken McPeek trained Pure Fun is sitting 15th in the points standings for the Oaks, but the field is limited to 14 and the filly needs more points to get into the marquee event of the year for three-year-old fillies.

The winner of the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet in her final start as a juvenile, she did not make her three-year-old debut until March 23 where she checked in third in the Grade 3 Bourbonette at Turfway Park as the 4-5 betting favorite.

The top four finishers in the Lexington earn 20-8-4-2 points, which could force two horses into the Kentucky Derby odds picture. Currently sitting in 14th place in the points standings for the Oaks is Seaneen Girl with 34 points, meaning if there are no late defections, Pure Fun needs to win to lock in a spot in the Oaks field.

She drew the worst of it at the post position draw and will break from the 11 post with her new rider Rosie Napravnik, who booted home Believe You Can for the win in the 2012 running of the Oaks, the first female rider to win the race.

She will face 10 foes including a couple of runners that are using the race as a possible prep for either the Kentucky Derby or Preakness Stakes.

The Mike Maker trained Sunbean came up short in an eighth place finish in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby after a troubled trip in his last outing. His connections said they have not ruled out a run in the Kentucky Derby if the colt wins the Lexington.

The 20 points would put the colt on the bubble to get into the Derby field. Currently there are three runners tied for the final spot with 20 points.

The Graham Motion trained Cerro faded to finish a disappointing sixth in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park in his first Derby prep. His connections have also not ruled out a run in the Derby if the colt can get in, but the Preakness Stakes on May 18 is more likely.

Verrazano continues to top the Kentucky Derby future odds parade and should go off as the morning favorite at Churchill Downs.

Grade 3 $200,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (Post time 5:13 ET)

1. Winning Cause, J. Leparoux

2. Pick of the Litter, J. Castanon

3. River Rocks, J. Graham

4. Hip Four Sixtynine, G. Saez

5. Where's Dominic, E. Prado

6. Sunbean, G. Stevens

7. Examen, G. Gomez

8. Cerro, J. Rosario

9. Wings of Fortune, C. Borel

10. General Election, J. Rocco Jr.

11. Pure Fun, R. Napravnik

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