“NTRA Racing to the Kentucky Derby,” the series on ABC and the ESPN networks providing coverage of Triple Crown prep races, brings the curtain down on the run-up to the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) by presenting same-day coverage of the $325,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) from Keeneland Race Course April 21, 6-7p.m. ET on ESPN2. Also on tap is the $125,000 Federico Tesio Stakes from Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, a stepping stone for locally based horses hoping to start in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
The Lexington provides a late opportunity for potential Kentucky Derby starters to accumulate graded stakes earnings in hopes of qualifying for the May 5 Run for the Roses. Making his 3-year-old debut in the Lexington Stakes is the Patrick Biancone-trained Belgravia, whose Triple Crown aspirations have been slowed by a series of training setbacks. Still, the colt won two-of-three races as a juvenile, including the Hollywood Prevue Stakes. He was fourth in the Hollywood Futurity in his only career loss. Belgravia returns to the track where he broke his maiden last fall to compete in this 1 1/16-miles event. Challenging Belgravia will be the Steve Asmussen-trained Forty Grams, who was third in the WinStar Derby and Southwest Stakes; Joe Got Even, winner of the WEBN Stakes and third in the Lane’s End Stakes (gr. II); the Todd Pletcher-trained Soaring By; the D. Wayne Lukas-trained Starbase; Albertus Maximus; Boogiemanball; Moyer’s Pond; Sacrifice Bunt; Slew’s Tizzy; and Wafi City.
A likely favorite in the 1 1/8-miles Federico Tesio Stakes is Etude, winner of three-straight, including a romp in last month’s Private Terms Stakes at nearby Laurel Park. Etude was a late nominee for the Triple Crown races and trainer Dickie Small is pointing the Maryland-bred toward a start in the Preakness. Set to take on Etude are Xchanger, Saratoga Lulaby, Zephyr Cat and Brass Run.