Bayern (right, Benoit photo) looks like the horse to beat in Saturday's San Felipe Stakes, and nine others will try to do just that.
A good-looking gate-to-wire, 15-length winner in a one-mile allowance race at the track on Feb. 13, Bayern has two wins from two starts for Bob Baffert. Bayern has been odds-on in both of his starts and will again be guided by Gary Stevens, who will likely have him on the early engine.
Baffert will also saddle Midnight Hawk, winner of the one mile Sham Stakes two starts back, then third as the 6-5 favorite in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes. Beaten 1 3/4 length by the highly regarded Candy Boy, Baffert hopes Midnight Hawk will benefit from the experience and be a better focused horse in the San Felipe. Midnight Hawk has been favored in all three of his starts and will try to rebound in his third try around two turns. Mike Smith returns for the fourth time aboard Midnight Hawk.
One of the most promising 3-year-olds in training is Kristo. He was off for the rest of 2013 after a 6 3/4 length maiden win going 1 1/16 mile on Oct. 31. He was second, 1 3/4 length behind Midnight Hawk, in the Sham after making the early lead and taking Midnight Hawk's pressure to his outside. Trained by John Sadler, Kristo has had six works since the Sham, his most recent a maintenance six furlong move in 1:13.40 that followed one at the same distance in 1:10.80. The second choice in the Sham at 2-1, Kristo has been favored in three of his four starts and has a win and three seconds to his credit. Ridden only by Rafael Bejarano so far, he’ll get Joel Rosario in the San Felipe.
The well-regarded Cal-bred, California Chrome, is trained by Art Sherman. He's has won four of his eight starts and has more racing experience than any of his rivals. A daylight winner of his last two starts in state-bred stakes races, California Chrome was visually impressive in the process and has his veteran conditioner thinking Kentucky Derby. California Chrome has put in four workouts at his Los Alamitos base in preparation for the San Felipe, his most recent drill a five furlong move in 1:00.40 over a wet-fast strip March 2. California Chrome was a much troubled sixth, beaten two lengths, in his only other graded stakes try, the seven furlong Del Mar Futurity. He will again be ridden by Victor Espinoza, aboard for his last two wins.
D. Wayne Lukas will be represented by Unstoppable Colby, a gate-to-wire maiden winner going 1 1/16 mile at Oaklawn Park on Feb. 20. Unstoppable Colby was well beaten in the one mile Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Jan. 20 and will be two-turning for the third time in his sixth overall start Saturday. He’ll be ridden for the first time by Luis Saez, who rides Will Take Charge for Lukas in the Santa Anita Handicap later in the day.
Third, beaten 6 1/4 lengths in the seven furlong San Vicente Stakes on Feb. 16, trainer Denise Breuer’s Rprettyboyfloyd remains a maiden after three starts and will try two turns for the first time Saturday. It’s expected he’ll be back off the early pace. He closed much ground in his debut on Jan. 4, when he finished second, beaten 3 1/4 lengths by Bayern. Rprettyboyfloyd will be ridden for the first time by Corey Nakatani.
Trainer David Hofmans will be represented by a pair of colts, Home Run Kitten and Schoolofhardrocks.
Home Run Kitten, a maiden winner going 6 1/2 furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course two starts back, will be making his fourth start on Saturday. He finished fifth in the Robert B. Lewis. Alonso Quinonez succeeds Joe Talamo in the irons.
Idle since an impressive first-out maiden win from off the pace going one mile at Del Mar Aug. 31, Schoolofhardrocks will try natural dirt for the first time in only his second start. Many expect him to try to make a late run under Talamo, who rides him for the first time.
Well-bet in two sprint starts, the Kristin Mulhall-trained Sawyer’s Hill is a maiden and will try two turns for the first time in the San Felipe. Third in his 5 1/2-furlong debut on Sept. 4 at Del Mar, he was third, beaten 2 1/4 lengths going 6 1/2 furlongs at the track on Jan. 26 and should be close to the pace with Martin Garcia aboard for the first time.
Doug O’Neill will saddle the well-bred Recanted, who will try dirt for the first time in his sixth career start. He was a first-out maiden winner June 13 in England and, in his final English start Oct. 8, was a non-threatening eighth at a mile and a quarter on turf. Recanted was away slowly in his U.S. debut on Jan. 16, he was well beaten going 6 1/2 furlongs down the hillside turf course.
Edited Santa Anita release with additional content by Dick Downey
Grade II San Felipe Stakes
1 1/16 Mile
Post Time: 5:00 ET
|1||Home Run Kitten (KY)||30-1||A. Quinonez||C||118||D. Hofmans|
|2||Unstoppable Colby (KY)||20-1||L. Saez||C||118||W. Lukas|
|3||Rprettyboyfloyd (KY)||12-1||C. Nakatani||R||118||D. Breuer|
|4||California Chrome (CA)||3-1||V. Espinoza||C||118||A. Sherman|
|5||Sawyer's Hill (KY)||30-1||M. Garcia||C||118||K. Mulhall|
||SCR||G. Stevens||C||118||B. Baffert|
|7||Kristo (KY)||4-1||J. Rosario||C||118||J. Sadler|
|8||Schoolofhardrocks (KY)||8-1||J. Talamo||C||118||D. Hofmans|
|9||Midnight Hawk (KY)||4-1||M. Smith||C||120||B. Baffert|
|10||Recanted (KY)||20-1||M. Gutierrez||C||118||D. O'Neill|
All will run with Lasix. Schoolofhardrocks is first Lasix.
Owners: 1 - Tarabilla Farms, Inc. ; 2 - Zayat Stables, LLC ; 3 - Karl Pergola ; 4 - Coburn or Martin ; 5 - Red Castle Farms ; 6 - Kaleem Shah, Inc. ; 7 - Hronis Racing, LLC ; 8 - Amerman Racing, LLC ; 9 - Kitchen, Quenneville or Tice, Et Al ; 10 - Reddam Racing, LLC
Breeders: 1 - Kenneth L. Ramsey & Sarah K. Ramsey; 2 - WinStar Farm, LLC; 3 - Jeff Amling & Bluegrass Farm Partners; 4 - Martin Perry & Steve Coburn; 5 - Betz/Lamantia/CoCo Equine/Magers/Burns; 6 - Helen Alexander; 7 - Whisper Hill Farm LLC; 8 - Mrs. Jerry Amerman; 9 - Michael E. Pegram; 10 - Betz/Kidder/Nines Enough/Graves