Back to Cali. Despite the debut for Uncle Mo at Gulfstream and the Tampa Bay Derby, Santa Anita may be the best place to be on Saturday for an exciting day of racing. Things will begin to heat up in the sixth with the Grade I Santa Margarita Invitational for 4 year olds and up. Though the field is deep and stakes are high let’s turn our attention to the Kentucky Derby Trail and the San Felipe Stakes.
The San Felipe serves as the last California prep before we reach the Hollywood of racing, the Santa Anita Derby on April 9th. The last KYD winner to emerge from the San Felipe was Giacomo in 2005 and the last two winners, Sidney’s Candy & Pioneerofthenile, went on to score in the SA Derby. It’s likely to expect today’s winner to be a serious contender come derby day now that the Santa Anita main track surface has switched back to dirt. The odds are sure to move quite a bit off the morning line because this ten horse field is deep and boiling with potential from all sorts of angles.
San Felipe | GII $250,000 Purse | 1 1/16 Miles | 3 yr olds | Race 8, Post Time 4:07 PT Horse, Jockey, Trainer, Odds
- Albergatti G. Gomez S. Assmussen 6-1
- Runflatout J. Rosario J. Sadler 4-1
- Surrey Star (IRE) J. Talamo J. Cassidy 15-1
- Awesome Patriot R. Bejarano B. Baffert 12-1
- Comma to the Top C. Nakatani P. Miller 4-1
- Premier Pegasus A. Quinonez M. Cho 4-1
- Bench Points D. Flores T. Yakteen 8-1
- Jakesam P. Valenzuela J. Hollendorfer 20-1
- Jaycito M. Garcia B. Baffert 7-2
- Quail Hill M. Pedroza D. Hoffmans 20-1
Where to begin, let’s start with Bob Baffert and his two sophomore starters. Jaycito racing under Baffert and new rider Martin Garcia for the first time (switched barns after BC Juvenile) looks to pick back up where he left off in California as a 2 yr old. Prior to the Breeders Cup Juvenile at Churchill, finishing 7th, he performed well on the California circuit placing 2nd in the Del Mar Futurity before winning the Norfolk. The other horse is Awesome Patriot who’s been gaining a lot of chatter lately as an early long shot derby threat. What to make of these two? With Baffert I won’t be surprised to see either take the prize but I’m not ready to bet on it. Jaycito has promise but I expect him to show more in the SA Derby. As for Awesome Patriot, I will jump in on the chatter after I see him win or hit the board on Saturday.
This a 1 1/16 Mile race which in racing talk means Two Turns. A lot of questions will be answered on Saturday because we have ourselves a few sprinters looking to show distance. Premier Pegasus, Runflatout, Albergatti, and Bench Points all enter without ever racing more than 7 furlongs. Bench Points is coming in hot at 4-0 lifetime and 1-0 in 2011. Premier Pegasus with a pedigree from 2000 KYD winner Fusaichi Pegasus looks to keep moving forward after a 3rd place finish in the San Vicente. As for the latter, they are lacking experience. Both never ran as two years olds, facing only MSW competition thus far on their 2011 campaign. I see potential down the line but on Saturday I can’t move on betting speed.
As for the winner I’m going back to Comma to the Top and Corey Nakatani. I know there is the elusive dirt question but I’m putting his class and experience in front. After a 5 race win streak was ended at the El Camino Real Derby earlier this year I’m betting a rebound win. I also expect to see a nice trifecta today so I’ll be throwing my hat in the ring.
Winner: Comma to the Top. Trifecta: 1-5-9
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