Swipe (Birdstone) has not raced since his second-place finish in the Oct. 31 GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, but trainer Keith Desormeaux is growing increasingly optimistic that he can have his $5,000 KEESEP yearling purchase ready for the GI Kentucky Derby.
Desormeaux said Tuesday that he is planning on racing Swipe in the GIII Coolmore Lexington S. Apr. 16 at Keeneland, which he hopes will set him up for the Derby.
“I feel a lot better about him than I did two weeks ago,” he offered. “His last two works were very good and have been confidence-building. If he runs well in the Lexington and the race doesn’t knock him out I don’t see any reason not to go on to the Derby.”
Swipe was sidelined after the Breeders’ Cup when he had to have a bone chip removed from an ankle. He did not return to the work tab until Feb. 27 and has had just four published works this year. The latest was a one-mile drill on Saturday at Santa Anita in 1:43 2/5.
Swipe may need to win the Lexington to have enough points to get into the Kentucky Derby. He currently has 12 points and would earn another 10 with a Lexington win. Twenty-two points is usually enough to make the field.
Swipe was among the better 2-year-olds in training last year, but kept running into divisional champion Nyquist (Uncle Mo). He finished second behind that foe in each of his last four starts.