The San Felipe Stakes-Grade II
SA Race 8 1 1/16M Dirt
Purse $400.000 for
Three Year Olds
This weekend is full of Graded Stakes action for Three Year Olds on the Derby trail. This one being the only one on the west coast as the other two are at AQU and TAM. What makes this the most interesting is it drew the best riders away from the other preps and the field is loaded. Whoever wins here will almost assuredly stamp his ticket to Louisville.
1 Willow, trained by D J C Racing Stables
When this homebred enters the starting gate it will be his first time in a graded stake. After rising through the ranks from a Maiden $5.000 win at FP back in September and a Clm $15.000 win at RP in October this son of Mr Creepy won the CA Derby by three quarters of a length with first time lasix. While this may be a big step up in class it wouldn’t be the biggest shocker if he won.
2 Minutes Hand, trained by Fractious
When this gelding goes in the gate it will be his second time in a Triple Crown prep. After beginning his career in a two furlongs race at TAM he has found the winners circle twice and is stakes placed. Ran second to Willow in the CA Derby in his first start of the year and then ran a decent 5th in the Southwest last out. I think he may have to run a career best to win here but certainly has a chance.
3 Meteorologist, trained by Mb Stables
The first entry from the leading trainer’s barn is a horse he claimed for $35.000 at GP in December. He must think highly of the son of Thats Entertainment because after that claim he entered him in the Lewis Stakes at SA. After being close to the pace in that race he ended up the 6th by 2 lengths. I think this time with a better draw we’ll see him farther off the pace and closing quickly at the end. Don’t be surprised if he’s there at the finish.
4 The Judge, trained by Smokey Stover
After Smokey Stover bought this horse from Team 7 Illusions for $85.000 he has done nothing wrong winning his 2 starts for his new trainer. After a statebred allowance win over the SA surface he will be facing the toughest competition of his young career. The trainer is very capable and if he runs a big race he may be developing at the right time. A bit of a longshot but he has a better chance than others.
5 Worst Case Scenario, trained by Mb Stables
The second horse we see from Mb Stables is this chestnut colt. After running second last time in the Lewis Stakes while beating his stablemate Meteorologist, his trainer has decided to come right back to SA. He looks to be tough and if he runs a big race like last time he’ll be there at the finish. He looks very strong in here and will most likely be a favorite to win.
6 Reach For A Latte, trained by Saratoga Stud
After being bought for $250.000 in late December, this horse ran a clunker at GP. He then came back to win the Lewis Stakes in impressive fashion. In that race he beat three rivals that will be in this race. He looks very tough in here and if he runs back to his Lewis performance he might be hard to beat in this spot.
7 Controlled Lion, trained by Our Athletes
After this son of Controlled Hook broke his maiden last June, it’s been nothing but stakes for him. He’s represented well though with only two of those five being out of the money. While he lost last time in the Lewis when running 5th, it wasn’t a terrible effort only being beaten a length. He’ll have to run a career best to win here though, as it’s tough competition.
8 Centerpiece, trained by Mb Stables
The third and final entry from champion trainer Mb Stables, this is probably his best entry here. After running second in last years BC Juvenile, he ran third in the LA Futurity and won his season debut in an Optional Claimer here at SA. After being scratched out of the El Camino Derby in what some people say was controversial, he shows up here as one of the heavy hitters. If he gets a good trip he’ll definitely be there at the end.
9 Fox News, trained by D J C Racing Stables
When this three year old colt by Diplomatic Immunity goes to the gate, it will be his second in a Triple Crown prep. After breaking his maiden last October, he hasn’t found the winners circle, but he’s been in the money every time. Last out he ran 4th in the Holy Bull at GP. It will be interesting to see what instructions he gets from an outside post, but if he runs a big race he’ll have a shot to win.
10 Gumshoe, trained by EasyMoney Stables
Last years BC Juvenile winner and HRP 2YO Colt winner. He’s only raced once this year and although he didn’t win, he also didn’t necessarily disappoint either running second in the Holy Bull at GP after having a wide post and being on the lead nearly the whole way. I think he’ll be ready to run since this is his second start back. If the outside post doesn’t hurt too much he will have a really good shot to win.
11 Halted, trained by Sanny Village
After being bought for $105.000 in late December, this horse has only had one start for his new trainer and it was win at SA in a statebred optional claimer. He’s been trying to get this horse in a prep race and has finally done it. The outside post hurts him but he’s been working well and fits in here. If he can work out a trip he has a good shot to win. Longshot pick of the race here.
12 Liverpool Rocket, trained by Estero Farms
13 Processing Class, trained by Toppedout
When this three year old enters the gate it will he his 19th time since last May. He’s ran short, long, turf, dirt, pay races, free races, claiming races and stakes races. He’s won 4 times but all in the free side and hasn’t been a factor in any preps he’s ran in. He does come in here off a 3 week break which may help but with an outside post and so many starts I’ll count him out.
It’ll be interesting to see what tactics are used by some of the outside horses that have chances to win. Reach For A Latte has the best draw of the heavy hitters and should be tough. Centerpiece and Gumshoe are out a little wide but if they can work out a trip they can win. This is a tough prep and whoever wins will be a force to be reckoned with.