The Kentucky Derby picture keeps getting more and more muddled, and you can add another one time ‘top contender’ to the ‘questionable’ list. The Bob Baffert trained Jaycito, who missed the Santa Anita Derby on April 9 due to a foot injury, is unlikely to run in Saturday’s Lexington Stakes at Keeneland leaving his status for the Kentucky Derby unknown.
Jaycito looked to be a certain entrant for the Kentucky Derby earlier this season, but since his 2nd place run in the San Felipe his status has been very unclear. He was originally slated to run in the Santa Anita Derby but had to be scratched due to a bruised right foot. At the time, his connections suggested that Saturday’s Grade 2 $200,000 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland would be his most likely next race. Unfortunately, every indication suggests that his foot injury hasn’t improved as hoped. He hasn’t worked since April 2, and hasn’t raced since the San Felipe on March 12. All in all, Jaycito has only been worked twice since his appearance in the San Felipe.
Bob Baffert has yet to ‘officially’ rule Jaycito out of the Lexington Stakes. Jaycito was scheduled to travel to Kentucky on Tuesday but that has pushed back to Thursday at the earliest. When asked, Baffert would only say that he would “make the call” on whether Jaycito would run in the Lexington on Wednesday. That “call” appears to have already been made, as Jaycito’s jockey Martin Garcia has reportedly been asked to be at Hollywood Park on Saturday rather than Keeneland. This strongly suggests that Jaycito has already been ruled out of Saturday’s Lexington Stakes.
This further muddies the Kentucky Derby picture, and Jaycito’s participation in that race is also in doubt. He already has $250,000 graded stakes earnings which will give him a place in the field at Churchill Downs on May 7. The Kentucky Derby is limited to 20 starters. If more than 20 horses submit an entry–and that is a very likely scenario this year–the 20 horses to run are determined by graded stakes winnings. This also means that should Jaycito not make the Kentucky Derby start that it would open up a spot for a horse ‘on the bubble’ in terms of graded stakes earnings.