By Dick Downey
Midnight Hawk, recent winner of the Grade III Sham Stakes, headlines seven entries in the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes, and Candy Boy isn't very far behind.
The Bob Baffert trainee will be making his second start of the year while Candy Boy, trained by John Sadler makes his 2014 debut. Second in the Grade I CashCall Futurity after making a huge middle move, Candy Boy will probably vie for favoritism with Midnight Hawk, if not the win.
An impressive first-out maiden winner at Hollywood Park going 7 1/2 furlongs Dec. 13, Midnight Hawk stretched out to win the one-mile Sham by 1 3/4 length over Kristo on Jan. 11. Kristo wasn't entered in the Lewis. By Midnight Lute, Midnight Hawk was favored at 2-5, made the early lead and either pressed or set fractions of :23.20, :46.20, and 1:10.40 before getting home in 1:36.40,
That earned Midnight Hawk a Beyer Speed figure of 95, the same number Candy Boy got in the CashCall.
There are 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points attached to the Lewis for the winner. Midnight Hawk already has 10 from his Sham win, and 10 happened to be the cutoff number in 2013.
Midnight Hawk has had three works since his Sham win, his most recent one a five furlong move in 1:00.60 (1/71)., He’ll again be handled by Mike Smith on Saturday.
Candy Boy has the advantage of having five starts, four of them in routes. He broke his maiden by 8 1/4 lengths going 1 1/16 mile on Nov. 22. With Gary Stevens aboard for the first time in the CashCall, Candy Boy lagged far off the pace and finished second, beaten 5 3/4 lengths by Shared Belief. Stevens is up again on Saturday. Candy Boy has had four works since Jan. 11, his most recent one six furlongs in 1:13.00 (7/18).
Baffert will also saddle the very fast Chitu, undefeated in two starts going six furlongs. By Henny Hughes, Chitu overcame an awkward start to win as the 3-5 favorite last time out. Martin Garcia rides. Chitu zipped a bullet half mile on Tuesday in 46.40 (1/34).
Patrick Biancone will send out a Laxix-free Diamond Bachelor, well-accomplished on turf but unproven on the main track. A first out mile turf winner Aug. 8 at Del Mar, Diamond Bachelor came back to win the one mile Oak Tree Juvenile Turf Sept. 4, and was subsequently second, beaten three quarters of a length, in the mile turf Zuma Beach at Santa Anita Oct. 6.
David Hofmans will saddle Home Run Kitten, a maiden winner on the downhill course. He'll try dirt and two turns in his third career start.
Cool Samura shipped west from Belmont Park to break his maiden in his second start. He closed well to win by a half length in 1:36.40. Cool Samurai, a gelding by First Samurai, was among the last-ever workers at Hollywood Park on Jan. 31, as he went seven furlongs in 1:28.40.
Peter Miller’s El Nino Terrible is a front-running maiden winner going two turns at the track on Jan. 17. He's based at San Luis Rey Downs and will make his fourth career start.
Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes
1 1/16 Mile
Post Time: 7:00 ET
|1||Candy Boy (KY)||G. Stevens||C||118||J. Sadler|
|2||Diamond Bachelor (KY)||J. Leparoux||C||118||P. Biancone|
|3||Midnight Hawk (KY)||M. Smith||C||120||B. Baffert|
|4||Home Run Kitten (KY)||J. Talamo||C||118||D. Hofmans|
|5||Cool Samurai (KY)||C. Nakatani||C||118||J. Shirreffs|
|6||El Nino Terrible (KY)||E. Maldanado||C||118||P. Miller|
|7||Chitu (KY)||M. Garcia||C||118||B. Baffert|
All will run with Lasix except #2 Diamond Bachelor
Owners: 1 - C R K Stable, LLC ; 2 - Diamond 100 Racing Club, LLC, Mrs. Magnier or Trussel ; 3 - Kitchen, Quenneville or Tice, Et Al ; 4 - Tarabilla Farms, Inc. ; 5 - Mr. & Mrs. J. S. Moss ; 6 - Dona Licha ; 7 - Tanma Corp.
Breeders: 1 - Lee Searing & Susan Searing; 2 - Jamm, Ltd.; 3 - Michael E. Pegram; 4 - Kenneth L. Ramsey & Sarah K. Ramsey; 5 - Mr. & Mrs. J. S. Moss; 6 - Green Lantern Stables, LLC; 7 - Tom Evans, Macon Wilmil Equines &Marjac Farms