Edited Press Release
The $325,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II), the final chance for Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) hopefuls to pick up graded stakes earnings, closed April 11 with 39 nominations.
More than a quarter of the nominees are running in stakes this weekend, leaving a small group of probable starters for the 1 1/16-mile test on Keeneland’s Polytrack April 19.
As of April 11, there were five Lexington probables, headed by Rushaway Stakes winner Big Glen and San Miguel Stakes winner Salute the Sarge.
Owned by John T.L. Jones Jr. and Bill Jones, Big Glen also won the WEBN Stakes at Turfway Park this winter. Big Glen is trained by Frank Brothers.
Southern Equine Stable’s Salute the Sarge opened his 2008 campaign with a victory in the San Miguel at Santa Anita. Trained by Eric Guillot, Salute the Sarge never has been worse than second in four starts on synthetic surfaces.
Other probables include Jet Set Racing Stable’s Tomcito, third in the Florida Derby (gr. I) in his most recent start; Racecar Rhapsody, who was fourth in his 2008 debut in the Lane’s End (gr. II) at Turfway; and Samba Rooster, a maiden winner this winter at Gulfstream Park. Tomcito trainer Dante Zanelli indicated earlier in the week that the son of Street Cry would only run in the Coolmore Lexington if he needed the graded earnings to qualify for the Derby.
Todd Pletcher is considering a start in the race for Behindatthebar. By Forest Wildcat, Behindatthebar ran fifth behind Autism Awareness in the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) at Bay Meadows March 8 and is coming off a four-length win against allowance company at Santa Anita April 3.
Robert S. Evans’ homebred Elysium Fields will not start in the race, according to trainer Barclay Tagg. The El Prado colt, 11th in the Florida Derby, had been under consideration for the Lexington.