LEXINGTON, Ky.—Going into Saturday’s final two races that award qualifying points for the $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1) Presented by Woodford Reserve, Reddam Racing’s homebred Hockey Dad sits in 25th place on the leaderboard with the 20 points he picked up for finishing third in the March 27 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park.
Saturday’s Stonestreet Lexington (G3) at Keeneland offers 34 Derby points on a 20-8-4-2 scale to the first- through fourth-place finishers. A win or a second-place finish – coupled with the result of the Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park – could vault Hockey Dad into the top 20 and a spot in the starting gate at Churchill Downs May 1.
Hockey Dad has been at Keeneland since the Jeff Ruby. Trainer Doug O’Neill said via text that the decision to supplement the son of champion and 2016 Derby winner Nyquist into the Stonestreet Lexington for $6,000 was made in the past few days.
“It was better to stay here than to go back to California and then come back again,” said O’Neill assistant Sabas Rivera, who is overseeing Hockey Dad’s preparation at Keeneland while stabled in the barn of former O’Neill assistant Jack Sisterson. “He is doing very well, and I think he will run big.”
“We’ll see how Saturday goes,” O’Neill texted regarding a possible Derby bid for Hockey Dad. “He’s a very talented son of Nyquist.”
O’Neill and owner Paul Reddam already have two Kentucky Derby victories to their credit with I’ll Have Another in 2012 and Nyquist.
O’Neill has one other runner in California ready to go to Churchill: Hot Rod Charlie. Owned by the partnership of Roadrunner Racing, Boat Racing and William Strauss, Hot Rod Charlie won the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) in his most recent start and was second at Keeneland last fall to champion Essential Quality in the TVG Breeders Cup Juvenile (G1) Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.
Hot Rod Charlie is expected to ship to Churchill Derby Week.
Keeneland Barn Notes
Photo: Hockey Dad winning an allowance race at Santa Anita Feb. 27, 2021. (Benoit)