Hades Takes Final Shot at Derby in Lexington; Odds, Picks

Hades is getting one more chance to make the field for the $5 million Kentucky Derby (G1).

Hades has one last chance to make the Derby gate

The Florida-bred gelding finished fifth after he was compromised at the start of the Florida Derby (G1), and he’ll face nine other 3-year-olds in Keeneland’s $400,000 Lexington Stakes (G3), the final points qualifier on the road to the Derby.

Hades wins the 2024 Holy Bull Stakes at GulfstreamThe Joe Orseno trainee is currently 24th on the Derby leaderboard; a Lexington victory would propel him into the starting gate with an additional 20 points.

“We need the points. I’m not going to go there to be No. 21 [on the also-eligible list]” Orseno said of Hades, second choice at 7-2 behind The Wine Steward (5-2), who will be making his 2024 debut in the Lexington.

Hades won his first three races, notably a victory over early Derby favorite Fierceness in the Holy Bull Stakes (G3). He will be equipped with blinkers for the first time.

“I always thought he would be better with blinkers, but he kept winning and I couldn’t make the change,” Orseno said. “He’ll have blinkers here; little ones.”

Also looking to move into contention on the Derby leaderboard with a win are Godolphin’s Encino (5-1), who would be 21st with 40 points, and Liberal Arts (4-1), who would have 39 points.

Encino, trained by Brad Cox, has won two of three races, including the John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park on March 2. He will be ridden from post position 8 under Florent Geroux.

Liberal Arts, who drew post position 9 with Irad Ortiz, Jr. in the irons, was 2-1-3 from his first six starts, including a victory in the Street Sense (G3) at Churchill Downs. In his most recent outing, he was disqualified from sixth to eighth after being ranked going into the first turn of the Arkansas Derby (G1) on March 30.

The picks: 1 Hades 2 Encino 3 The Wine Steward

The field for the $400,000 Lexington Stakes (G3), from the rail out:

1 Secret Chat (Joel Rosario, Rodrick Rodriguez), 15-1

2 The Wine Steward (Luis Saez, Mike Maker), 7-2

3 Dilger (Tyler Gaffalione, Saffie Joseph, Jr.), 12-1

4 Footprint (Brian Hernandez, Jt., Ken McPeek), 10-1

5 Hades (Jose Ortiz, Joe Orseno), 7-2

6 How’s Ur Attitude (Adam Beschizza, John Ennis), 30-1

7 Everdoit (Axel Concepcion, Kevin Rice), 30-1

8 Encino (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox), 5-1

9 Liberal Arts (Irad Ortiz, Jr., Robert Medina), 4-1

10 Lucky Jeremy (Gerardo Corrales, William Morey), 8-1

Posted on