Let's Go Stable's undefeated Divine Oath, who did not draw in to the April 15 Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) off the also-eligible list, faces 10 rivals April 19 when he makes his stakes debut in the $200,000 Coolmore Lexington (gr. III) on the Keeneland Polytrack.
The Coolmore Lexington is the final race with points on the road to the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), with 17 points (10-4-2-1) available. However, none of the entrants for the Coolmore Lexington would make the Derby field this year even with the addition of those points.
Instead this race is a good opportunity for some turf-loving contenders to transfer their form to the synthetic surface, and for some synthetic specialists to continue their progression at the Lexington oval.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, who has won this race five times including last year with Winning Cause, Divine Oath has won both of his races going 71/2 furlongs on the turf at Gulfstream Park. Javier Castellano has the mount in the 1 1/16-mile Coolmore Lexington, and will exit post position 6 aboard the son of Broken Vow .
Pletcher also will send out Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners' allowance winner Supermonic from post 10 under Joel Rosario, and Stonestreet Stables' maiden winner Global Strike from post 11 under Irad Ortiz Jr.
Mr Speaker, winner of the Dania Beach Stakes (gr. IIIT) and runner-up in the Palm Beach Stakes (gr. IIIT) over the Gulfstream lawn for Phipps Stable and Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, will make his Polytrack debut. Jose Lezcano has the mount from the inside aboard the son of Pulpit.
Gary and Mary West's Poker Player won the Bourbon (gr. III) last fall at Keeneland when it was switched to the main track and went on to an eighth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT). The Harlan's Holiday colt came back this season with a good closing effort behind stablemate Solitary Ranger in the March 1 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes, but then finished 10th in the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Racing Spiral Stakes (gr. III). Stewart Elliott will ride from post 4; Catalano takes the blinkers off for this start.
Susan Moulton's Solitary Ranger won the Arlington-Washington Futurity (gr. III) last September at Arlington Park and last month captured the Battaglia at Turfway Park. The son of first-crop sire U S Ranger also contested the Spiral, but was ninth. Florent Geroux retains the mount from the 2 hole.
In Solitary Ranger's only previous Keeneland stakes start, he was ninth in the Dixiana Breeders' Futurity (gr. I) last October.
Ivan Dalos' Ami's Holiday, also by Harlan's Holiday, won the Grey Stakes (gr. III) on the all weather track at Woodbine in October and makes his 2014 debut for trainer Josie Carroll. Robby Albarado rides the Ontario-bred from post 7.
$200,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. III, Race 9, approximate post time 5:13 p.m. EDT), 3YOs, 1 1/16 miles (all weather track)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Mr Speaker (KY), J. Lezcano, 120, C R McGaughey III
2. Solitary Ranger (KY), F. Geroux, 120, W Catalano
3. Dynamic Impact (KY), A. Garcia, 118, M Casse
4. Poker Player (KY), S. Elliott, 120, W Catalano
5. Z Lucky (KY), J. Court, 118, D W Lukas
6. Divine Oath (KY), J. Castellano, 118, T A Plethcer
7. Ami's Holiday (ON), R. Albarado, 120, J. Carroll
8. Ride Away (KY), J. Leparoux, 118, H G Motion
9. Morning Calm (NY), J. Rocco, Jr., M Nihei
10. Supermonic (PA), J. Rosario, 118, T A Pletcher
11. Global Strike (KY), I Ortiz, Jr., 118, T A Pletcher
Equipment Change: No. 4—Poker Player—Blinkers Off