By Dick Downey
The Robert B. Lewis Stakes drew only seven entries, but that's consistent with the average field size for this race the last seven years. Let's take a look at who might win it.
Small field sizes have been an issue in California for longer than we like to think, and the Lewis has not been an exception. From 2007 through 2013, this grade II race has had an average of 6.7 starters.
I look for Candy Boy to win. Gary Stevens got to know him in the CashCall, and this time I look for Candy Boy to be closer to the pace in the earliest stage of the race. He can certainly be put into a race, as was demonstrated when Stevens moved Candy Boy in the CashCall from 11 to 4 1/2 lengths off the lead in the space of a quarter-mile.
I think Candy Boy sits behind Chitu and makes his winning move if Chitu backs up a bit. Chitu, a son of Henny Hughes, is one of my favorite horses in this year's 3-year-old crop. He has been so facile winning his races. He may run them off their feet in the Lewis, as The Commish believes he will. That A.P. Indy blood on his dam side could be enough to get him home.
Even in this day of lightly-raced horses, Midnight Hawk is not yet a proven commodity; the Sham winner has only two starts. In my opinion, the most interesting thing in the race will be to see how Mike Smith positions Midnight Hawk. Chitu looks the fastest, but Midnight Hawk ran the first half-miles of his races in 45 and change and 46 and change. This time, of course, he has to go a little bit longer.
Cool Samurai went east with John Shirreffs, a trainer in search of more action. He ran second to Wicked Strong at Belmont Park in October. Upon their return to California, Cool Samurai broke his maiden at the track, although the horses he beat aren't setting the world on fire. He's demonstrated a lag-behind-then-come-running style in both his starts, but will he be able to do that and win against this better quality field?
The other three entries present some questions. Diamond Bachelor has run well in three turf starts, but he finished ninth in the Breeders' Cup juvenile after a tough trip. Home Run Kitten, a son of Kitten's Joy, has not been beyond 6 1/2 furlongs and has not run on dirt. El Nino Terrible set a moderate pace breaking his maiden at the track.
1. CANDY BOY
3. MIDNIGHT HAWK
4. COOL SAMURAI
2007 -- Nine starters. Great Hunter won.
2008 -- Five starters. Crown of Thorns won.
2009 -- Nine starters. Pioneerof the Nile won.
2010 -- Five starters. Caracortado won.
2011-- Seven starters. Anthony's Cross won.
2012 -- Eight starters. I'll Have Another won.
2013 -- Four starters. Flashback won.
Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes
1 1/16 Mile
Post Time: 7:00 ET
|1||Candy Boy (KY)||2-1||G. Stevens||C||118||J. Sadler|
|2||Diamond Bachelor (KY)||6-1||J. Leparoux||C||118||P. Biancone|
|3||Midnight Hawk (KY)||9-5||M. Smith||C||120||B. Baffert|
|4||Home Run Kitten (KY)||15-1||J. Talamo||C||118||D. Hofmans|
|5||Cool Samurai (KY)||6-1||C. Nakatani||C||118||J. Shirreffs|
|6||El Nino Terrible (KY)||12-1||E. Maldanado||C||118||P. Miller|
|7||Chitu (KY)||7-2||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