By J.N. Campbell

Horse-by-Horse Guide for Saturday's Sham Stakes (G3) @SA

By J.N. Campbell
Life Is Good for Bob Baffert... need we say more in the Sham Stakes (G3)? Kentucky Derby Points are his for the taking!
Life Is Good for Bob Baffert... need we say more in the Sham Stakes (G3)? Kentucky Derby Points are his for the taking!

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1 Mile (Dirt), Sham Stakes, Purse $100k, 3

In last year’s Sham Stakes, a race that honors Secretariat’s old foe, Bob Baffert’s Authentic began his march to Graded Stakes glory. The 2021 edition promises to produce yet another Derby hopeful, as points are poised to be offered in trade, 10-4-2-1 as the sequence goes. 

Now, let’s find out about this field…

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#1 Medina Spirit (Jky: A. Cedillo/Trn: B. Baffert):

Medina Spirit #1 is the “other” Bob Baffert trainee entered here. Compared to stablemate Life Is Good #5, he has not received much fanfare, even though his runaway maiden victory at Los Alamitos just a few weeks ago was a triumph. Baffert must have some confidence in him as Abel Cedillo climbs back aboard, as the conditioner takes the blinkers off. Wouldn’t it be something if this son of Protonico (a freshman sire with mild prospects to date) bested Baffert’s ace? May not happen, but still…

Grade: B

 

#2 Waspirant (Jky: U. Rispoli/Trn: J. Sherriffs):

John Sherriffs brings 2 runners into the Sham S. with hopes for a gambit against Baffert’s duo. Waspirant #2 by Union Rags was hammered last out in the American Pharoah (G1). He was 4th, 10 lengths behind Get Her Number. So, suffice it to say, he is going to need to improve in a big way here. I do not see that happening, even with Umberto Rispoli riding. Minor awards at best…

Grade: C

 

#3 Parnelli (Jky: D. Van Dyke/Trn: J. Sherriffs):

Right next door, breaking from the 3-hole is Sherriffs’ other hope, Parnelli #3. By the accomplished sire, Quality Road, his conditioner has brought him along steadily with some excellent attempts at the MSW level. All 4 of these runs were 2nd place finishes, except for the last at Del Mar, which resulted in a 5+ length score in a 7-horse field. Those speed figs, which ranged in the upper 80s were positive, but again, if Life Is Good #5 is as driven as many think, then this Sherriffs runner hasn’t a chance.

Grade: B+

 

#4 Uncle Boogie (Jky: F. Prat/Trn: A. Lerner):

Andrew Lerner decided to hold Uncle Boogie #4 for this race, as opposed to running him at Los Alamitos in the Futurity against Baffert’s Spielberg or for a rematch with Red Flag (his Bob Hope rival). It will be interesting to see if that decision was the right one, or if he ends up eating Life Is Good’s #5 dust. Can Flavien Prat make a difference? What about his recent bullet workout? It is unclear. He may not be fast enough. Which Uncle Boogie #4 will rear his head in the Sham Stakes? A Thoroughbred pentimento…  

Grade: B

 

#5 Life Is Good (Jky: M. Smith/Trn: B. Baffert):

Life Is Good #5 made a major impression on the Thoroughbred world by posting a 3-digit speed figure. Being associated with Bob Baffert also made everyone perk up. “He is at it again,” they said. Maybe. The Sham Stakes will be a significant test for the young colt. If Mike Smith can get this one home, his mount may well be tabbed as the Kentucky Derby frontrunner. But he has to make it happen against Lerner's best, Sherriffs’ duo, and a stablemate. A convert he will make if he makes a statement here.

Grade: A-

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Join us Saturday for all of Sean Morris’ selections! Should be a great set of races from Santa Anita Park!

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