It is go-time for the Southern California Kentucky Derby hopefuls with the running of the San Felipe at Santa Anita on Saturday.
The 1-1/16-mile race is the 6th on the Santa Anita card and is a 50-20-10-5 prep points race, meaning the winner is pretty much locked in to a spot in the Kentucky Derby.
Post time is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
Bob Baffert has owned this race with his runners over the years and will shoot for win number eight with the top two favorites.
Life is Good (Bob Baffert/Mike Smith/4-5) is lightly raced but is the heavy favorite. The horse is a perfect 2-for-2 with both starts coming as the 1-5 favorite.
After a crushing nine-length win in his debut in late November, he came into the Grade III Sham as the heavy favorite and looked the part through most of the race, turning for home with a four-length cushion.
Stablemate and the second choice here Medina Spirit came changing late, nearly getting up for the win before losing by a less than a length.
Life is Good has been off since the win but has turned in strong work tabs, which at times were blistering. Smith is up for the third straight race and everything looks like a go here.
Medina Spirit (Bob Baffert/John Velazquez/7-2) came back from the Sham and wired the field in the Lewis, holding off the charging Roman Centurian (also entered here) by a neck.
Since then, he has posted a pair of bullet works heading into the race and changes jockeys from Abel Cedillo to John Velasquez. He figures to be part of the pace duel along with Life is Good despite both horses coming from the Baffert barn.
The Great One (Doug Out ’Neill/Abel Cedillo/4-1) was second to Spielberg as a maiden in the Los Alamitos Futurity in December, then came back to break his maiden by 14 lengths in late January.
The horse only has one win in five starts but does seem to be getting better each start. Yet another runner that appears to like to be on the early pace.
Seems like this might be too much, but Spielberg’s strong second place finish last week in the Southwest makes the nose loss at Los Al look that much better.
Dream Shake (Peter Eurton/Joel Rosario/5-1) seems like perhaps a reach here with only one career start – a win in a sprint in early February – but this could be a good spot.
He did come from well back in the debut and if Rosario can get him to relax in the early going, he may sit well in the lane with all the speed in this field.
Roman Centurian (Simon Callaghen/Juan Hernandez/8-1) is a closer that could find the front-end speed to his liking.
Three starts have produced just a maiden score but in all three he was well back early. The last start was the Lewis and despite drifting in and bumping, he closed big time and just missed the win. Hernandez usually chooses to go wide in the lane, so the smaller field should not be an issue.
Plenty of speed to chase in this one.
By Dennis Miller