The Morning Line: San Vicente Stakes

Buckle your seat belts, the San Vicente Stakes is going to be moving fast.  While the race won’t have all the hype, glitter and glam of another disappointing Fast & Furious film, this California sprint is sure to please the critics.  At a distance of only 7 Furlongs, things will get interesting with this field as they come out of the only turn and head for home.  Like all sprints, it comes down to who gets a clean break, establishes position, and hits the stretch ready to change gears and roll.

While the race is a shorter distance than almost all Derby Preps, history shows that the winner can excel in longer races.  Silver Charm took home the San Vicente in 97 before moving on to Churchill Downs to show just how good he was.  Overall, there have been 11 San Vicente winners who came back to claim the Santa Anita Derby so we will definitely keep close tabs on Sunday’s winner.

The field is set and the odds on favorite is The Factor.  Trained by Bob Baffert, The Factor made jaws drop at SA in Dec when we he broke his maiden while setting a 6 furlong track record in 1:06.98.  For a 2 yr old to post an unbelievably fast time while racing against good company is just down right commendable.  The young colt is reportedly ready for his first race of 2011 after rest & a full recovery from a minor foot bruise in January.  Couple these factors with a Jockey change (Bob’s top choice rider, Martin Garcia up) and you can see the anticipation building.  Will he return to record form or has the competition closed the gap?

The field has got the potential to upset the California favorite again this weekend so let’s look at the upset bid leaders.  Expect pressure from San Pedro winner Indian Winter and runner up City Cool.  Both look rested and ready to return to form.  Premeir Pegasus, the son of 2000 KYD winner Fusaichi Pegasus, is hot coming in at 3-0 but with no wins on dirt.  Finally, I expect some noise from Sway Away with Garrett Gomez up.

Going out on a limb, I’ll play Sway Away across the board for a good price if The Factor finishes behind him.  In this deep field I’m undecided on exotic wagers.  So, barring any last minute decisions, which happen, I’ll likely be staying out on exacta / trifecta combos.  Last minute decisions could include The Factor, Indian Winter, Sway Away, and Sinai.

San Vicente | GII $150,000 Purse | 7 furlongs | 3 yr olds | Race 8, Post Time 4:07  PT 

  1. Surrey Star (IRE)            M Smith           J Cassidy               8-1
  2. Metropolitan Man            P Valenzuela   V Cerin                  12-1
  3. Sway Away                        G Gomez          J Bonde                4-1
  4. Sinai                                    R Bejarano      B Baffert              8-1
  5. Indian Winter                    M Pedroza      J Hollendorfer     9-2
  6. City Cool                             J Talamo         S Asmussen         8-1
  7. The Factor                         M Garcia         B Baffert               8-5
  8. Premeir Pegasus               A Quinonez     M Cho                   8-1
  9. Oakcrest Drive                  V Espinoza      J Cassidy              15-1

Good luck to all of the owners, trainers, jockeys and other connections in California.  We hope that all of the horses finish strong and return to their barns in good health.

Written By: Little Brink                      thederbypost@gmail.com


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