D.J. Stable and Robert Cotran’s Hades leads a trio of Florida-breds entered for the $400,000 Stonestreet Lexington (Grade 3) at Keeneland Saturday, the final race offering qualifying points to make the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) at Churchill Downs on May 4. A field of 10 sophomores will go to the post in the mile-and-a-sixteenth contest which offers 40 points on the Derby leaderboard on a 20-10-6-4-2 basis.

Hades currently ranks at No. 24 on the Derby leaderboard with 30 points and likely needs a win to insure a starting spot in the 20-horse Derby starting gate. T O Password (Jpn) ranks at No. 20 in the Derby standings with 40 points but has already been extended an invitation as the leader on the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby. No More Time sits at No. 19 with 45 points and Grand Mo the First sits at No. 21 with 40 points.

The other two Florida-bred Lexington entrants, Secret Chat and Everdoit, are looking for their first Derby points.

Trained by Joe Orseno, Hades suffered his first defeat in four career starts after a difficult trip in the March 30 Curlin Florida Derby (G1) won by Fierceness. He was shut off going into the first turn and was forced six-wide on the second turn before a making a determined run to finish fifth.

The bay gelding won the mile-and-a-sixteenth Holy Bull (G3) by two lengths on Feb. 3 to become an early Derby contender after winning a state-bred allowance race by eight lengths on Dec. 31. He debuted with a victory in a $50,000 maiden optional claiming on Dec. 9.

Hades is by Ocala Stud’s Florida-bred stallion Awesome Slew out of The Shady Lady, by Quality Road and has earned $252,900 in his four career starts. Hades was bred by Ocala Stud, Joseph M. O’Farrell III, David O’Farrell, et. al.

Jose Ortiz will ride Hades for the first time in the Lexington and they have drawn post five. Hades is the second choice on the morning line at 7-2.

Trainer Roderick Rodriguez will saddle Secret Chat, a homebred for Gelfenstein Farm. Secret Chat has had difficulty at the start of each of his three career races so may be a contender with a good break in the Lexington.

He was off slow in his career debut gong six-and-a-half furlongs against Florida-bred special weight maidens at Gulfstream in August but made an impressive late run to win by seven lengths.

In his next start in the $65,000 Aventura going a mile at Gulfstream on Oct. 1, he was slammed between two horses coming out of the starting gate but ran on late to finish second to Divieto.

He was off slow again last out against Florida-bred, $50,000 optional claimers and was against second, this time to Big Effect.

Secret Chat is by Union Rags out of La Vie Ross, by Medaglia d’Oro and has earned $58,750 in his three starts.

Joel Rosario has the riding assignment on Secret Chat, who breaks from the inside post one. Secret Chat is 15-1 on the morning ine.

Everdoit was also bumped at the start of his last race when sixth in a first condition, $100,000 optional claiming over a sloppy mile-and-a-sixteenth at Keeneland on April 10. Third in the $110,000 OBS Sophomore won by Pure Class on Florida Cup Day at Tampa Bay Downs on March 24, his last win came in a first condition, $75,000 optional claiming going a mile-and-40-yards at Tampa Bay downs on March 17.

Everdoit has post seven, is 30-1 in the program and Axel Concepcion will ride.

The Michael Maker-trained The Wine Steward, who makes his first start of the year, is the morning line favorite at 5-2. The son of Vino Rosso won the $200,000 Funny Cide against fellow New York-breds in August then finished second to Locked in the Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland in October in his most recent race.

The Wine Steward will break from post two with Luis Saez in the irons.

Rounding out the field are Dilger (Ire) with jockey Tyler Gaffalione, Footprint and rider Brian Hernandez, How’s Ur Attitude will have Adam Beschizza in the saddle, Encino is set the jockey Florent Geroux, Liberal Arts and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. and Gerardo Corrales rides Lucky Jeremy. 

Return to the April 11 issue of Wire to Wire