San Vicente S. (gr. II)

(gr. II , 7f ,)

EXPLOIT (DK B/ h, 123 lb) $90,000
Storm Cat —My Turbulent Miss , by My Dad George
B—John G. Sikura, KY.; O—Lewis, Robert B. and Beverly J.; T—Bob Baffert

Aristotle (GR/RO h, 116 lb) $30,000
Two Punch —Slick Turn Baby , by Northern Baby
B—Anita Hirsch MD, MD.; O—Paraneck Stable; T—Randy K. Bradshaw

Yes It's True (B h, 123 lb) $18,000
Is It True —Clever Monique , by Clever Trick
B—George Waggoner Stables Inc., KY.; O—Padua Stables; T—D. Wayne Lukas

Margins: neck, 7, . Others: Winning Jockey, Chris J. McCarron.

A successful combination is on the path to the first Saturday in May. In 1997 Bob Baffert and Bob and Beverly Lewis celebrated in the winner’s circle following Silver Charm’s 13/4-length victory over Free House in the San Vicente Stakes (gr. II). It was a similar scene as the same group met in the same spot on Feb. 6 following Exploit’s win by a neck over Aristotle in the 1999 edition of the race.

In 1997, the Lewises made a $1.475-million bet on Exploit when they refused a live bid for the colt at that price at the Keeneland September yearling sale. So far it has paid off as Exploit has remained undefeated in five starts, won three stakes races, and is the current leading candidate to be favored in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). He has earned his owners $346,254, so he hasn’t repaid them yet, but the year is still young.

Exploit was bred by John R. Gaines Thoroughbreds and John G. Sikura and is the sixth stakes winner produced from the mare My Turbulent Miss. Olin Gentry purchased the mare on behalf of Gaines for $250,000 at the 1994 Keeneland November breeding stock sale while in foal to Kris S. The mare’s breeder, Meadowbrook Farms, consigned the mare to that sale.

The resulting foal, Knife Edge, is a full brother to 1989 Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT) winner and sire Prized. Knife Edge now races in Ireland for Sarah Lawson. Since trainer Michael O’Brien initially started the horse over hurdles last December, he is undefeated in three starts and is now among the contenders for the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March, one of England’s classic steeplechase events.

In 1998, the Lewises again indicated their faith in foals from My Turbulent Miss when they purchased Exploit’s half-brother by Unbridled’s Song for $675,000 as a weanling at the Keeneland November sale. The mare is due to produce a Hennessy foal in May and is kept at Offutt-Cole Farm near Midway, Ky.

Storm Cat is the sire of Exploit and 63 other added-money winners. Three other offspring of the stallion, China Storm, Red Cat, and Seeking the Sky, have won stakes in 1999. Storm Cat is owned by W. T. Young’s Overbrook Farm and stands at that nursery near Lexington for a $200,000 fee.—K. J. I.