The Lexington Recap, by Brian Nadeau
The Polytrack surface has long reminded everyone–horsemen and horse players alike–of a turf course, and adhering to that theme, WinStar Farm’s Advice made the last run a winning one in the final prep before the May 2 Kentucky Derby.
With Garrett Gomez aboard, Advice sat in last of the 11-horse field, made a wide and sustained run turning for home, and collared Conservative and Sqaure Eddie late while posting a 1-length win. It’s worth noting that the top three were 11th, 9th, and 10th, respectively, after a half-mile. Advice remains under consideration for the Derby, and WinStar and trainer Todd Pletcher will announce a decision early next week.
Not taking anything away from the winner, but the real story of the day was the comeback of Sqaure Eddie. Many, myself included, were skeptical of his Derby aspirations coming into the Lexington. Square Eddie had run once in January and then got injured and was deemed off the trail. But about a month ago, trainer Doug O’Neill and owner Paul Reddam said he was in fact being pointed towards a start in the Derby. With plenty of earnings in the bank, he was guaranteed a spot.
Well, after seeing Square Eddie make a breathtaking move going into the far turn and pass essentially the entire field in a matter of strides, I’ll eat my words and give him every right to move on to Louisville. As it turns out, the power move was ill timed and Square Eddie was a short horse anyway, but it stamps him as a live longshot should he make the 75-mile trip from Keeneland to Churchill Downs.
Conservative also ran big, considering he was making his stakes debut. He bided his time, got bumped by the winner while 7-wide turning for home, yet still finished willingly. The Peter Pan-Belmont angle seems like a logical progression for a runner with a bright future.
Well, there you have it. Somehow, someway, it’s all behind us and there looms only the big one on the horizon. Check back for updates as the Derby field comes into focus.