Swipe returns in Wild Lexington
By Greg "The Commish" Johnson
A field of 10 has assembled for what could have been a last chance effort to make it into the field that first Saturday and May, and all eyes are on the return of Swipe. On paper, this guy looks like the second best horse in the country, but does he really need to fire in this first race back with bigger things ahead?
DIRECT MESSAGE -- Connections had big hopes with this runner right from the get-go, but he ran into a snag that delayed his meeting the big time this spring. He looks like what they expected with his return to the races this year, and one more jump forward from his maiden-breaking win at Gulfstream last month makes this guy a true contender at a very nice price. Keep an eye on that tote board, as I’m guessing he’s ready to fire a big one.
SWIPE is the obvious favorite and choice after running second in four consecutive races to Nyquist in the biggest dances of all last year. He clearly has an overwhelming class edge, and he hasn’t missed a beat in his workout regimen for his return. Point scoring doesn’t appear to work in his favor to be enough for the Derby, and it took a few races for him to get on track to start his career. He's a tough to toss and would be no shock at all if he puts this group away as they turn for home.
SYNCHRONY has a nice win last October over this Keeneland strip, drawing off at seven furlongs in his second lifetime start. He's been working forwardly at Oaklawn after a short break, and this son of Tapit took quite a few bucks at the window in the Southwest Stakes, where he really never got untracked. Draw a line through that, and he looks every bit a major player in his return to a surface he likes.
RIKER looks to be one of several speed horses who want and need the front to be at their best. He popped right out there in the Tampa Bay Derby in his 3-year-old debut before fading and really looked like he needed that race. With all the others in here pressing the pace I’m thinking those come-from-behinders may be ready to pounce when the going gets going.
Javier Castellano on a Bob Baffert horse? You don’t see that every day, but you will see this guy get his fair share of money as a result, that’s for sure. COLLECTED looked like a Derby contender after taking that high dollar Sunland race last out so what’s not to like? For me, California horses like this who come to Keeeneland just don’t seem to get the job done so often, and based on that alone, I’m thinking he could be a speed casualty. I will take my chances using others.
LOMCEVAK has shown some good late kick at Fairgrounds and could grab a piece if that speed melts down up front. ONE MORE ROUND and BIG SQUEEZE have plenty of early zip and could wreak havoc on the front and mess things up for Collected and Riker as a result, but they both too look up against it to stick around after that hot pace. CALL THE COLONEL and YO CARM are making a big class jump against these and looks like a tough task is ahead based on past speed figures.