Sham Frontrunners Battle Again in Lewis Stakes

Lewis Stakes- Grade 3 (KYD)- $100.000 Purse
SA- For Three Year Olds
One Mile and One Sixteenth on the Dirt
February 1, 2020

While the purse for the 14th running of the Lewis Stakes has seen a drop from previous years, that hasn’t stopped trainers from filling up the gate with the hopes of winning the KYD points that are associated with it. This is one of a handful of ten point races for the winner that are available, and there will be two more that are also running on Saturday. Last year, Fear The Dragon took home the win in this race in what proved to be his final race with LionKing Stables before that one cashed out on him for $550.000. He’d win the Rebel after this race, but his career fizzled after that, so in the long run LionKing made the right move. Other notable prior winners of the race include Risen Ruler, Diplomatic Immunity, and Positive Thinking. There are twelve going to post for this race, and differing paths have been taken to get here. Let’s meet the runners!

#1- Media Mogul (Nakamura Stables, ridden by A Cedillo)- In his young career, Media Mogul has made it a habit of winning every other race he has been in, and the trainer is hoping that continues here. For that to happen, he is going to have to be a lot better then he was in the Grade 3 Sham on this track last month, where he was 11th. His next toughest race was the GS Juvenile, where he was also a non factor. This track has not been kind to him, but if the trainer has established why those results happened, then his works put him right there in strong contention.

#2- First Man (Allinthegate, ridden by N Arroyo Jr)- Has not yet proven himself at this level, as his only graded appearance was a poor one, though there is pretty much nothing that this race has in common with that one. The good news is that this is a horse that has won three of seven races, so he knows how to get there at the end. His wins, and overall speed figures don’t really excite me, but his works at a mile look good, and his only race at a mile (or more) was a win. May be worth taking a shot on if the odds climb.

#3- Orion Nebula (John Henry, ridden by D Van Dyke)- Made his name known after finishing second in the BC Juvenile, missing out by a nose to the winner there, Brittle. He had done more then that previously, though, and that includes winning the Grade 2 SAR Special, a race that caught John Henry’s attention, as he bought him for $300.000 soon after. Placed second in the Sham Stakes right here last month, and seems like he is due to break through again with a win.

#4- Personal Beliefs (La Canada Racehorses, ridden by T C Baze)- We have mostly seen this NY-bred running against similar, becoming a regular feature in NY-bred stakes. General success in those races culminated in October, where he won the $250.000 Sleepy Hollow. After that, he… wait, where has he been? Personal Beliefs will return to the track here with an over 90-day layoff after that big win, and it’s fair to wonder why we have not seen him since. There’s much to like about this horse, otherwise, just not that layoff.

#5- Angelsinheaven (Angelos Stables, ridden by V Espinoza)- Wisely claimed by the trainer for $20.000 in September. Immediately afterward, he was given a heavy diet of races. That has since settled down, and his highlight of that stretch was a win a smaller WV-bred race at the CT bullring. Lately, he was elevated into graded competition, and while he has yet to win any of them, he has also cashed some sort of check in all three of them. Looking at his work times, it seems like he will break through with a win in this type of race. Keep an eye on him, not often you anymore that you see an autogen having this kind of success.

#6- County Medical (Crocker Ggs, ridden by E Maldonado)- This is another horse that is coming out of the Sham here last month. For County Medical, that resulted in a third place finish where he came from well off the pace to get that spot. This has been the approach of the trainer in each of the last two races, but he’s run well with other tactics, so we should not necessarily expect him to start at the back again. Though that seems logical, especially in a race with a little more distance then the Sham.

#7- Mexican Swagger (Aer Stables, ridden by R Chirinos)- While the trainer has, for the moment, the three year old to beat in the division, one can never have enough contenders, and Aer Stables is actually looking really good right now. Mexican Swagger has kept himself busy in NM-bred races and stakes, and ran in them to go 4-for-4 to start his career. Those weren’t all typical small field sizes either, that we have come to assume those races are. Made his graded debut two months ago with a rather bland effort at the LA Futurity, but he can bounce back from that.

#8- Cairn Toul (The Sidley Stud, ridden by G Franco)- Like Personal Beliefs, Cairn Toul is coming into this race off of a three month layoff. The last time we saw him, it was in the slop at WO for the Grade 3 Gray Stakes, and he ran second there, missing out by a nose. It was a good bounce back race for him after the Grade 1 Pharoah did not go well, but instead we have not seen him since. Now that he is back in action, we’ll see how it goes but the layoff is tough to overlook.

#9- Jezza (Estero Farms, ridden by J K Court)- So far, this gelding by Brutal has only his maiden race, which was a sharp looking performance at SAR in August. The trainer took a big leap with him afterwards, into the Grade 1 Pharoah, and he finished off the board. In fact, Jezza has not hit the board in any of his race since that win. The good news is that he is working very well, looking particularly sharp on the 12th at AQU. It is time for him to show us something in this type of race, no matter which way you look at it.

#10- Titan Xd (Broken Spoke Stables, ridden by Ru Fuentes)- In his last start, Titan Xd broke his maiden right here at the beginning of January against CA-breds. It took him four starts to do that. It was at this distance, and he earned a 92 SRF for the race, so if that is duplicated then he can make his presence felt here. Has not been worked publicly since 2019, and does not have public works to begin with, overall.

#11- Honorable Behavior (Hunterman Stables, ridden by F Pennington)- This PA-bred took five tries to break his maiden, but once he did, he has been winning with much more regularity. He will now be entering the toughest race of his career, as the only stake experience he has was in the PA-bred McDermott in September. I would have liked to have seen a better result there. Overall, his SRF’s seem a bit low, but there could be reasons for that.

#12- Laffin Hero (Alydar Stables, ridden by M E Smith)- Since the beginning of November, this horse has two sales that combine for $975.000 associated with him, and only one race. That race was the Grade 3 Sham, where many of these come out of him, and Laffin Hero would be the winner there. That prompted Alydar Stables to make a big investment in him, and there is a lot to like about him. I simply like his overall track record four wins in seven starts, and only failing to hit the board once, which was his debut. Works are great, especially the shorter ones, but the longer ones are good looking too and what the new trainer is banking on. This is their first race together.

Prediction: 3-12-6-1

— NS

Categories: Grade III, STAKES ARTICLES

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