A total of 34 points toward the Kentucky Derby point standings (20-8- 4-2) are available in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes. The new point system has confused many. The Kentucky Derby is limited to the top 20 point-earners who pass the entry box and the current cut line is 20 points. Three horses have 20 points and the tiebreaker is earnings in non-restricted stakes races.
The Coolmore Lexington winner (filly or colt) would earn $120,000 and move past Code West ($90,000) and Tiz a Minister ($81,000) on the Derby leaderboard.
Then one has to remember – any points earned in specific races count BUT the points in filly races only count in the Kentucky Oaks. In the case of races not specifically for fillies, those points can be applied to the Kentucky Derby or the Kentucky Oaks.
Pure Fun has 20 points toward the Oaks, which up until this week had been on the cutoff line for the Oaks (limited to 14 starters) and Pure Fun was only on the also eligible list for the Kentucky Oaks. With some fillies off the Oaks road, she now has the points to be in the Oaks.
Pure Fun is the only filly among eleven 3-year-olds in the field.
With the point standings – if Pure Fun wins, she would dash whatever Derby hopes that exist among the connections of the Lexington’s male runners. By winning, not only could Pure Fun earn a spot in the Oaks, a position in the Kentucky Derby starting gate would also be available to her.
“I do think we’ll win,” said Ken McPeek, trainer of Pure Fun. “She really needed her last race,” a third-place finish as the odds-on favorite four weeks ago in the Bourbonette Oaks at Turfway Park. “And she really needs this race if we want to be a threat in the Kentucky Oaks. I know this is a bit unconventional, but she’s doing great, and we’re really looking forward to trying this.”
Rosie Napravnik will have the riding assignment Saturday on Pure Fun, who will break from post position 11.
Team Valor International’s Cerro has not raced since finishing sixth behind Orb in the Besilu Stables’ Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2). Trained by Graham Motion, the Mr. Greeley colt will break from post position eight and be ridden by Joel Rosario. Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Phelps is a part owner. A win here would make him have the points to go to the Derby.
The Coolmore Lexington will go as the ninth race on Saturday’s 10-race program with a 5:13 p.m. (Eastern Time) post time.