Peace wins a maiden special weight race Dec. 30 at Santa Anita

Peace wins a maiden special weight race Dec. 30 at Santa Anita

Benoit Photo

Wide-Open Robert B. Lewis Stakes Draws Nine

Four last-out maiden winners and two maidens are in the field.

With some of the heavy hitters in the 3-year-old male division eyeing targets down the line, the $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) came up as a wide-open affair with points toward the Road to the Kentucky Derby on the line Feb. 3 at Santa Anita Park.

Four last-out maiden winners, two maidens, and three horses with recent stakes experience populate the nine-colt field for the 1 1/16-mile Lewis, but none have a stakes win. Kaleem Shah's Inscom came closest last time out Dec. 29 in the Eddie Logan Stakes, but that second-place finish, by a head to Pubilius Syrus, came on grass.

"There's certainly no standout in there, but we also think it's the right time to try (dirt)," said Inscom's trainer, Simon Callaghan. "He ran first time out on dirt (a far-back sixth in September), but numerous things went against him that day. He's always trained well on dirt and has been progressing nicely. And if it doesn't work, it's perfect timing for the (March 17) Pasadena (Stakes)."

Of the recent maiden winners, Spendthrift Farm and Town and Country Racing's Peace may have the most upside. A three-quarter-length winner last time out Dec. 30, the Richard Mandella-trained Violence  colt finished behind eventual Smarty Jones Stakes winner Mourinho in their debut sprinting Sept. 30, and also finished runner-up by a head in his second start Nov. 23 to fellow Lewis entrant Shivermetimbers.

The most intriguing maiden appears to be Juddmonte Farms' Regulate, who finished second to Peace Dec. 30, then came back to finish sixth as the 6-5 favorite in a maiden special weight event Jan. 19 at Santa Anita for trainer Bob Baffert.

"When he ran second, that was a nice race. But when he ran the other day, he never really tried at all," Baffert said. "He came out of the race really well and looked really strong when I breezed him (Jan. 30). This time of year, they're basically not tough races yet. I think everybody feels the same way, because it's a big field."

Baffert had Zayat Stables' multiple grade 1-placed Solomini under consideration for the Lewis, but a minor illness that has been making the rounds in the Santa Anita barn area delayed his training in early January.

Entries: Robert B. Lewis S. (G3)

Santa Anita Park, Saturday, February 03, 2018, Race 5

  • Grade III
  • 1 1/16m
  • Dirt
  • $150,000
  • 3 yo
  • 2:34 PM (local)
11Ayacara (GB)Keeneland Sales GraduateKent J. Desormeaux120J. Keith Desormeaux8/1
22Pepe Tono (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateEvin A. Roman120Victor L. Garcia6/1
33Dark Vader (OH)Stewart Elliott120Peter Eurton10/1
44Lombo (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateFlavien Prat120Michael Pender5/1
55Shivermetimbers (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRafael Bejarano120Jerry Hollendorfer7/2
66Inscom (KY)Tyler Baze120Simon Callaghan6/1
77Peace (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateMike E. Smith120Richard E. Mandella3/1
88Regulate (KY)Joseph Talamo120Bob Baffert8/1
99Blame the Rider (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateMario Gutierrez120Doug F. O'Neill15/1