One Last Derby Bullet to Fire

Disarm | Sarah Andrew

Currently on the GI Kentucky Derby bubble with 40 points, rallying GII Louisiana Derby runner-up and 'TDN Rising Star' Disarm (Gun Runner) will look to punch his ticket to the big dance in Saturday's GIII Stonestreet Lexington S. at Keeneland.

The Stonestreet Lexington is the final race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and carries 40 points that will be awarded on a 20-8-6-4-2 basis. A top-three finish by Disarm would secure the Winchell Thoroughbreds homebred a spot in the starting gate on the first Saturday in May.

The deep field of 11 also includes Godolphin homebred and fellow 'Rising Star' First Mission (Street Sense), who is favored on the morning-line at 3-1. He earned his diploma in style for trainer Brad Cox at second asking while making his two-turn debut at Fair Grounds Mar. 18.

Empirestrikesfast (Empire Maker), nominated to the Triple Crown late last month, also heads right into the deep end following an impressive maiden victory. The Pink Oak Stud colorbearer kicked off his career for Bill Mott with a 23-1 upset debut victory around two turns at Gulfstream Mar. 11. The runner-up and beaten favorite that day Dreamlike (Gun Runner) returned to finish a very close third in the GII Wood Memorial S. Apr. 8.

The Bob Baffert-trained 'Rising Star' Arabian Lion (Justify), drawn widest of all in post 11, resets following a disappointing last-of-four finish in the GIII Robert B. Lewis S. Feb. 4.

Keeneland's 11-race program also prominently features the grassy GI Jenny Wiley S.

Likely favorite and 'Rising Star' In Italian (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) returns for a 5-year-old campaign following a strong second-place finish in the GI Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf in Lexington Nov. 5. The Peter Brant colorbearer annexed the GI First Lady S. over this same course last fall. Seeking a sixth Jenny Wiley victory, trainer Chad Brown will also saddle last term's impressive GII Longines Churchill Distaff Turf Mile S. heroine Speak of the Devil (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}). In Italian was 2 3/4 lengths back in second that day.

Godolphin homebred With The Moonlight (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) will also be well-backed at the windows. Last term's GIII Saratoga Oaks Invitational S. heroine and GI Belmont Oaks Invitational S. runner-up won her two previous tries in Dubai this season, most recently impressively capturing the G2 Balanchine S. Feb. 24.

The nine-deep Jenny Wiley also includes 2021 GI American Oaks heroine Queen Goddess (Empire Maker), a last-out winner of Gulfstream's GIII TAA Pegasus World Cup Filly and Mare Turf Invitational S. Jan. 28.

Heavyweight Rematch at Oaklawn…

Secret Oath (Arrogate) and Clairiere (Curlin), one-two across the line while launching their 2023 campaigns in the GII Azeri S. Mar. 11, will meet for the third consecutive time in a four-horse renewal of Oaklawn's GI Apple Blossom H.

Last term's GI Kentucky Oaks heroine ended a five-race losing streak by defeating favored MGISW Clairiere by 2 3/4 lengths in the Azeri. Secret Oath has won four of five career starts in Hot Springs and was a respectable third as the favorite against the boys last spring in the GI Arkansas Derby.

Clairiere, second in last year's Apple Blossom, came up just a head short in a wild renewal of the GI Breeders' Cup Distaff at Keeneland Nov. 5. Secret Oath faded to fifth after making a bold early run to lead in the stretch that day.

Oaklawn's 12-race card also includes the highly anticipated stakes debut of 'Rising Star' Strobe (Into Mischief) in the GIII Count Fleet Sprint H.

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