Preview of the San Vicente Stakes – Santa Anita Park – Grade II, $150,000 – 7 Furlongs
By Brian Nadeau
Well, we might as well get this out of the way early. I really have no feel for the fake stuff in terms of handicapping and I’m not a fan of it in the least overall. I’m also partial to those who have shown they can handle conventional dirt, so for me, anyone out west who has never tried dirt gets downgraded a bit. With that being said, the San Vicente brings together a nice little group of stretch-out sprinters trying to advance along the Derby Trail. Let’s take a look at the main contenders.
Wall Street Wonder– Pricey son of a relatively unknown sire (City Place) followed the typical Baffert pattern and put things together in his second career start after a useful debut. Gets an additional furlong to work with today but with his rail draw and his potential need-the-lead style could compromise his chances, especially when you consider he’s facing winners for the first time.
Gato Go Win– He may be making his stakes debut but he’s got a trio of figures (all since adding blinkers) that say he belongs. The problem is that he’s another with an abundance of speed and the front figures pretty crowded in here. Know him early.
Evita Argentina– Not really sure why this gal is in here, but she at least brings the right off-the-pace style that could have her passing the wobbly sorts in the lane. I usually don’t pay attention to weight, bit when a filly is the co-top weight it can’t be a good thing for her backers. She can get a piece, but top honors may be a bit out of reach.
Gallant Son– Cuts back after running against the best of his generation, and that alone makes him a player here. Exits a quartet of two-turn races and with that bottom in him and a hint of tactical speed, he could be sitting in the right spot turning for home. He’s got to be a decent price to boot, so let’s tab him to upset this group.
Smokey Lonesome– Makes his first start in the Sherman barn and that hasn’t been a get-rich angle (three percent) for bettors. He’s eligible to sit a nice trip in here but we need to watch one before taking the plunge.
Congor Bay– Won the local prep for the San Vicente when he took the San Pedro on January 19, but that was a weak affair. He’s not out of this by any means, but he’ll have to run the fastest race of his life to get unsaddled.
Point Attended– Lost nothing in defeat when just missing in the San Pedro to his buddy next door. That was his first start after breaking his maiden so there’s obviously a big upside here. Improving sort is in good hands and has shown versatility in his three lifetime starts. Could prove a real danger in the lane.
Ventana– He’s yet to run back to his big debut last fall at Belmont, though he’s faced some real toughies in the interim. The problem is he always gets bet and today looks to be no different, so until he gets it back together we’ll make him beat us.
Leedstheway– He’s looked good going 2-for-2 in his brief career and this stakes seems the next logical step. He draws well in here and his speed should give Baze plenty of options. Logical win candidate is dangerous if he gets first run on the closers.
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