The Morning Line: San Vicente Stakes

Creative Cause Returns for his 3-yr-old Debut 

Creative Cause draws away from Drill in the Norfolk

The San Vicente Stakes has long been a staple race along the derby trail and a very credible prep for the Santa Anita Derby. It has been known to include fields of many legitimate contenders as well as potential Kentucky Derby winners. The race brings a mixed bag of coverage that spreads the buzz between multiple entries but in the 2012 addition however Creative Cause owns the pre-race coverage. The main reason is because this race will likely be the kick-start to a run in the 138th Kentucky Derby.

So let’s begin with looking at why Creative Cause is so deserving of the main stage.

Creative Cause (KY): Owner Heinz Steinmann | Trainer M. Harrington – Jockey J. Rosario; Foaled 4/6/2009 by Giant’s Causeway and Dream of Summer by Siberian Summer; 5 Lifetime Starts: 3-1-1 

It begins with the most important factors both of which go hand in hand – Creative Cause is a Graded Stakes winner and is considered the top west coast contender to win the Kentucky Derby. Riding high off of a win in his first career start Creative Cause earned a lot of hype by winning the G2 Best Pal at Del Mar in only his second career race. After a narrow defeat his third time out in the Del Mar Futurity he bounced back to win the G1 Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita by 3 1/4 lengths.

That performance led him to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile where he entered the starting gate as the second choice behind the heavy favorite Union Rags. Although it wasn’t his day Creative Cause’s 3rd place finish was solid and he proved in the race that his talent was not to be overlooked. And that’s where his 2-yr-old season ended and the San Vicente is where the 3-yr-old season begins.

So how’s he doing after a 3 month layoff? If we’re using his recent workouts at Hollywood Park to answer that question than the answer is that he’s doing great. Two different times in the last 3 and half weeks Creative Cause burned through 6 Furlongs en route to notching the fastest workouts of day at that distance. The first was on 1/28 when he clipped though at 1:11.60, followed more recently on 2/12 when he finished in 1:11.40.

Adding these pieces together is why Creative Cause is getting all of the pre-race attention. But as we know you still have to beat the others in order to keep the gallery near your barn.

G2 San Vicente Stakes | Purse $150,000 | 7 Furlongs | Dirt | Race 8, Post 3:36 pst

PP HORSE JOCKEY TRAINER ML ODDS
1 Let’s Get Crackin  V. Espinoza  C. Dollase  6-1
2 Creative Cause  J. Rosario  M. Harrington  3-5
3 Drill  M. Garcia  B. Baffert  9-2
4 Smoking G  C. Nakatani  P. Miller  8-1
5 American Act  M. Pedroza  J. Carava  4-1
6 Captain Obvious (IRE)  M. Gutierrez  B. Cecil  12-1

Highlighting the rest of the field is Drill, a horse that has already faced Creative Cause on 3 different occasions. The best result came the first time they met and he won the Del Mar Futurity last September. The win set the stage for a rematch in the Norfolk and it lived up to expectations when they finished in reverse order. Although Drill ran 2nd he has since been searching for the form that made him such a highly regarded 2-yr-old and potential Kentucky Derby contender.

Just like Creative Cause Bob Baffert elected to enter Drill into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile but unlike his West Coast counterpart the race ended with a letdown and 10th place finish. The BC Juvenile was the beginning of a rather unexpected stretch. Since then Drill has been unable to finish better than 5th making it four consecutive races without hitting the board. But Baffert has a way of doing things and to count this horse out of the derby picture is still premature. There is no better time to get back on board the Kentucky Derby train so the San Vicente against Creative Cause could be where Drill turns things around.

As for the remaining horses that round out the field the San Vicente will be the first graded  stakes race for all four. Smoking G and American Act both enter fresh off their first career wins – MSW at Santa Anita in January. Captain Obvious and Let’s Get Crackin on the other hand enter after having raced in non graded stakes races and finishing inside the top three at least once. Captain Obvious ran 4th in the Real Quiet last time out and Let’s Get Crackin finished 3rd in the San Pedro, two spots in front of Drill.

Projections: It’s going to be tough for me to seriously wager on this race because Creative Cause’s odds should be seriously low. He’s also going to be very hard to beat but it’s definitely worth a shot. Leaving Drill out I will take a shot with one of the remaining 4 horses. Looking at these entries I can’t get around the clever names. At first glance Smoking G comes to mind because it reminds me of my oldest brother who goes by the nickname G. But he doesn’t smoke anymore so scrap that. Instead I’ll play Let’s Get Crackin to defy the heavy favorite in his highly anticipated 3-yr-old debut.

If another horse comes out the victor in the San Vicente there will be a lot to talk about. Creative Cause definitely earned the spotlight and it will be exciting to watch his debut attempt to hang on to it.

San Vicente and the Kentucky Derby

Inaugurated in 1935 and now having raced a total of 70 times the San Vicente Stakes proudly showcases 9 Kentucky Derby winners. Of the nine that made the San Vicente a stop along their trail toward claiming the roses six of them were winners of both races. Here is your list of all nine and the place they finished in the San Vicente Stakes.

  • 1997  Silver Charm 1st
  • 1976  Bold Forbes 3rd
  • 1969  Majestic Prince 1st
  • 1965  Luck Debonair 1st
  • 1959  Tommy Lee 2nd
  • 1955  Swaps 1st
  • 1954  Determine 2nd
  • 1952  Hail Gail 1st
  • 1940  Gallahadion 1st

Now that’s a very fine list. Good luck to all of our 2012 San Vicente Stakes entries, we hope to see you down the trail and if so best of luck in joining these San Vicente legends.

Written by: Little Brink

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