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HADES BACK FOR LEXINGTON

Edited Gulfstream Staff Release – D. J. Stable LLC and Robert Cotran’s Hades, who has been entered in Saturday’s Lexington (G3) at Keeneland, will run in the 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-olds in a quest to earn a spot in the 20-horse field for the May 4 Kentucky Derby (G1), trainer Joe Orseno confirmed Sunday.

            “We’re going all out to get into the Derby,” Orseno said. “If he wins, he’s in.”

            Hades, who sits outside the Top 20 with 30 qualifying points, would clinch a stall in the Churchill Downs starting gate with a victory in the Lexington, which offers 20 points to the winner.

            The 3-year-old gelding had earned 25 Derby points with his front-running victory in the Feb. 3 Holy Bull (G3) at Gulfstream Park while winning his third career race without defeat. The Florida-bred son of Awesome Slew, who finished 3 ½ lengths clear of third-place finisher Fierceness in the Holy Bull, was no match for the 2023 2-year-old male champion in the March 30 Curlin Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream, picking up only 5 Derby points with a fifth-place finish behind the victorious Todd Pletcher trainee.

Hades experienced early bumping and fell back to last in the nine-horse Florida Derby field before making a wide run to finish a well-beaten fifth. Orseno will add blinkers on Hades for the Lexington.

“I actually wanted to put blinkers on him before, but he kept winning,” Orseno said. “He’ll wear blinkers in the Lexington.”

            Jose Ortiz is scheduled to ride Hades for the first time in the Lexington, in which he will face Brad Cox-trained Encino, who is coming off a victory in the March 2 John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park, and Robbie Medina-trained Liberal Arts, who won the Street Sense (G3) at Churchill Downs last year and is coming off an off-the-board finish in the Arkansas Derby (G1), in a 10-horse field.

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