Kentucky Derby 2022: Race Review of the G3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes
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While the 2 other Kentucky Derby Trail Prep Races (Gulfstream’s Holy Bull S. and Aqueduct’s Withers S.) had full fields of 9 and 11, respectively, Santa Anita’s came up a bit shorter. Last Sunday afternoon, it was a group of 5 that was entered in the $200k Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes … after not only the prize money, but also the KYD148 Points of 10-4-2-1.
As per usual, trainer Bob Baffert brought a pair of colts to the starting gate in Messier #1 and Wharton #4. Both were owned principally by SF, Starlight, and Madaket Stables LLC, and clearly, it was the former that would be taking the most action. The latter was at a bit better odds … 4/1, right before the bell. As for Baffert’s #1, he was even money come post time, and would be ridden by HOF jockey, John Velazquez. Though most bettors liked the short-priced son of Empire Maker, he was beaten last time out by a runner from Doug O’Neill midst. That SoCal-based conditioner was trying to do it again with his entry, Happy Jack #5. Rounding out the field of 5 was also Simon Callaghan’s Sir London #2, and George Papaprodromou’s Cabo Spirit #3.
Right from the word “break,” it was apparent that Johnny V was going to be first into the turn … he made it, and began to cruise. With the forthcoming fractions of … 23.24, 46.94, 1:11.32, and 1:36.32 … you might surmise that the pace was just too hot, and that it was destined to fall completely to pieces. But you would be incorrect …
One of the most-experienced riders in the world, urged his colt on, and at the top of the lane, he found more. With some late gears shifted, Baffert’s ace accelerated, and galloped home for the victory. Winning by a whopping 15 lengths, it was a statement race, if ever there was one. With a WPS Pool of just over $500k, bettors that chose to back the “fave” were “rewarded” with $3.20 for the Win, $2.40 for Place, and a paltry, $2.10 for Show.
With $120k in their pockets, these connections celebrated not only a victory, but enjoyed the posting of a Beyer Speed Fig of 103 … wow, how about that league-leading number? Of course, with Baffert on the bench when it comes to KYD148 Points, the only colts that would be receiving scores would be Papaprodromou’s #3 that was 2nd (Place $7.20, Show 3.60), and Callaghan’s #2 that ended up 4th. As for the SF, Starlight, and Madeket investment, #4 was 3rd (Show $2.60).
Now moving forward, the Santa Anita Series has a pair of races left on its schedule, the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes (5 March), which offers Points at the rate of 50-20-10-5. Of course, the capstone contest, the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby (9 April), has the most value of 100-40-20-10. Stay tuned for all the action from SoCal, because it is going to continue to get interesting as the calendar flips towards May! How will Baffert proceed? His ownership groups? Much to come ...
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