The Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland Race Course is run just two weeks prior to the Kentucky Derby, which makes it one of the last opportunities for a Kentucky Derby hopeful to earn the necessary cash to reach the starting gate at Churchill Downs.

The Grade 3, 1 1/16-mile Coolmore Lexington Stakes carries a purse of $200,000 and the winner's share of that pot can go a long way towards putting a horse over the threshold for making the Kentucky Derby field.

A couple of such horses from high-profile barns are expected to attempt that feat in the 2012 Coolmore Lexington Stakes, which is scheduled for April 21. Trainer Todd Pletcher, a five-time Eclipse Award winner, is expected to send Holiday Promise to the Coolmore Lexington Stakes. Holiday Promise's only previous graded stakes attempt was a runner-up finish in the Grade 3 Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park. Trainer Bob Baffert, a three-time winner of the Kentucky Derby, plans to take a shot with Stirred Up. The son of Lemon Drop Kid was third in the Grade 3 Sunland Derby in his only previous graded stakes try.

One other 3-year-old in desperate need of same graded stakes cash, Reveron, is also expected for the Lexington Stakes. Reveron has finished third in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby and second in the Grade 1 Florida Derby in his previous two starts.

A win by either Holiday Promise, Stirred Up or Reveron could be enough to get them into starting gate for the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May.

The Lexington Stakes dates back to 1936, but the race's current name and format began in 1984. Since then, three winners of the Lexington Stakes have gone on to win Triple Crown races. The first was Risen Star in 1988. Risen Star finished third in the Kentucky Derby following his Lexington win, but Triple Crown winner Secretariat's greatest son bounced back to win the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.

Hansel, the 1991 Lexington winner, was made the favorite in that year's Kentucky Derby but he tired badly in the stretch and wound up 10th. The son of Woodman returned with a vengeance two weeks later to win the Preakness Stakes and then followed that with a victory in the Belmont Stakes.

Touch Gold won the 1997 Lexington Stakes, but then skipped the Kentucky Derby in favor of the Preakness. He wound up third in the Preakness, but in the Belmont he made history by denying Silver Charm's bid for a Triple Crown with a furious late rally.

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas is perhaps most closely associated with the Coolmore Lexington Stakes. He has won the race four times, including with Charismatic in 1999. Charismatic would go on to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, but was denied Triple Crown immortality when running third behind Lemon Drop Kid in the Belmont Stakes.

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