The Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes on Saturday, Feb. 2 is the second of four official Kentucky Derby prep races at Santa Anita this spring. The Sham took place in early January, while the San Felipe Stakes and the Santa Anita Derby are on the horizon after the Lewis. The Lewis is the fourth race on Santa Anita's Saturday card with a post time of 5:03 pm Eastern. TVG and HRTV will provide live television coverage.
The Lewis Stakes is part of the official Road to the 2013 Kentucky Derby series as presented by Churchill Downs. The winning horse will receive 10 points towards a spot in the starting gate on the first Saturday in May, while the second, third and fourth place finishers will receive four, two and one point, respectively.
As a result of the presence of two more preps in Southern California, the Lewis field came in quite soft in terms of field size and depth, drawing a tremendously disappointing field of just four colts: 1-Little Jerry (8/1), 2-Flashback (3/5), 3-Den's Legacy (5/2) and 4-He's Had Enough (3/1). Flashback and Den's Legacy are both trained by Bob Baffert.
The first time he touched the track, Flashback broke his maiden by 3 ½ lengths at Hollywood Park on Dec. 8. He returns in the Lewis where he'll try graded stakes company, dirt and a distance greater than seven furlongs for the first time. That's a lot of "firsts" for a young colt, especially when you toss in the fact that he's a microscopic 3/5 on the morning line. Based on the way the race will likely unfold on the pace side, Flashback certainly appears to be the most likely winner, especially if he can repeat the performance of his maiden win. But, again, 3/5?
Two of Flashback's three rivals possess a solid amount of experience - Den's Legacy and He's Had Enough. Of those two, the race probably sets up a little better for Den's Legacy as jockey Garrett Gomez has the option of trying to grab the lead or chose to sit right off Flashback's hip pocket. That tactical advantage could make all the difference in the world against a small field.
As for He's Had Enough, he's preferred to come from well off the pace in most of his other races, with one exception, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita on Nov. 3. On that day, He's Had Enough raced about four to five lengths off the pace in the early stages, moved to challenge Shanghai Bobby at the top of the lane, and finished second by a head at the wire. That race represents the only race over dirt for He's Had Enough, so perhaps he'll be able to employ a stalking running style in this race.
There's no way I can take 3/5 on Flashback regardless of how good he looked when he broke his maiden. If his odds were to drift to something like 8/5 or better, then I could get on board. But that's not going to happen so I'll look elsewhere to find some value.
Tactically, I think the race sets up well for Den's Legacy, but I'm not thrilled with how he finished up in his two other starts on the Santa Anita main track. That leaves me with just one play - He's Had Enough. I'll only play the Doug O'Neill colt if I can get 5/2 or better at post time (which I'm not sure will happen).
|G2-Robert B. Lewis Stakes; Post Time: 5:03pm Eastern|
|1||Little Jerry||T. Baze||R. Baltas||8/1|
|2||Flashback||J. Leparoux||B. Baffert||3/5|
|3||Den's Legacy||G. Gomez||B. Baffert||5/2|
|4||He's Had Enough||M. Gutierrez||D. O'Neill||3/1|