The Lexington Stakes is a Gr 2 American horserace contested by
thoroughbred three-year-olds over 1 1/6 miles on dirt at the end of
April every year at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Kentucky.
With a purse of $325,000, the Lexington Stakes is an important prep
race for the Kentucky Derby.
Named after the Kentucky town of Lexington, the Lexington Stakes was
only open to two-year-olds when it was inaugurated in 1936. Between
1938 and 1941 it was run as a handicap for three-year-olds, and in
1984 it returned to the stakes schedule and saw its purse steadily
increase to the size it is today.
Since 1998 the Lexington Stakes has been sponsored by Ireland's
Coolmore Stud. For this reason the race is known to many people as
the Coolmore Lexington Stakes, but the purists still call it by the
name that it was called way back in the 1930s.
In terms of notable winners, the winner of the 1999 Lexington Stakes
was called Charismatic, who that same year went on to triumph in the
Kentucky Derby. In fact Charismatic set the current speed record in
the Lexington Stakes, completing the 1 1/6 mile course in a time of
1:41 at Keeneland.
In the last thirty years that the Lexington Stakes has been run,
jockey Jerry Bailey has won the race an incredible six times - in
1982, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1999 and 2004. During the same period,
Jacinto Vasquez, Pat Day, Robby Albarado and Shane Sellers each won
the race twice.