Brian’s Derby Preps: The Robert B. Lewis and the El Camino Real Derby

Santa Anita – The Grade II, $250,000 Robert B. Lewis at 1 1/8 miles

#1 Wegner (ML unavailable): Recent MSW graduate goes out for Baffert, so you know he’s probably got some talent, but at this juncture it appears he’s biting off a bit more than he can chew; pace factor is worth remembering down the road, but not today.

#2 Anthony’s Cross: Well-beaten third in the local GIII Sham behind fellow entrant Tapizar, he’s cross-entered in the GIII El Camino Real at Golden Gate later on the card, so it will be interesting to see where he shows up. The good news is that the Sham was his first start in 10 weeks and first against winners, so there’s room for improvement; the bad news is that he’s got over 9 lengths to make up on the aforementioned Tapizar, and that guy was coming off the same set of circumstances; minor award appears to be his ceiling.

#3 Comma To The Top: Reportedly will be scratched to run in the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields (see below).

#4 Tapizar: The aforementioned son of Tapit looked brilliant in the Sham, where he set the early pace, rumbled through a lightning-fast half-mile in 45 1/5, and then opened up from there to win going away by 4 ¼ lengths. And as mentioned, that was his first start off a layoff and first against winners, so it’s not like he was some seasoned pro who was feasting on a bunch of softies. Things get a bit tougher today, but another win says he’s the best in the West right now; expecting him to live up to the advanced billing.

#5 Ten Devils: Turf runner is by Rock Hard Ten, so he should take to the dirt, but it’s still an unknown after three career runs on the lawn. Seems versatile from both on or off the pace and the price will finally be appealing after a pair of odds-on runs, but he’s another who has his work cut out for him; taking a wait and see approach in his initial run on the main track.

#6 Riveting Reason: Extremely talented sophomore was known as a synthetic specialist last year, especially after finishing nowhere in the BC Juvenile at Churchill Downs, but he was a fine second (albeit in a three-horse field) in a local N1X in December, so that helps to alleviate the concern. Blinkers come off today for a colt who was twice GI-placed as a juvenile, and if he improves on his last and Tapizar stumbles, you never know; looms the main danger.

#7 Quail Hill: Graduated last time out on the turf, when he went gate-to-wire through slow splits, but he’ll find anything but those today with Tapizar driving the train. He seems to be going the right way and these Candy Rides can run all day, but this is a tough spot to find out if he likes the main track; outsider.

#8 Thirtyfirststreet: Cal-bred went from a maiden win on Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track to a stakes win on Santa Anita’s dirt track, so that says that he’s versatile and talented, though today he gets thrown into open company and will attempt two turns for the first time. Yet to stub his toe so far and he should be closing in the lane, so those looking to beat the heavy chalk might have found their guy; intriguing at a price.


#4 Tapizar

#8 Thirtyfirststreet

#6 Riveting Reason

Golden Gate Fields – The Grade III, $200,000 El Camino Real Derby at 1 1/8 miles

GI winner COMMA TO THE TOP (#1) kicks off his 3yo campaign with the hopes of making it six straight; has been training great guns and should have little trouble wiring this field at odds-on. SILVER MEDALLION (#4) looked good winning a minor SA turf stakes and drew favorably; should be pressing the favorite the entire way. POSITIVE RESPONSE won the local prep, the Cal Derby, in stellar fashion and would be in the perfect spot should the top pair hook up too early; not impossible as he goes for four straight.

2 thoughts on “Brian’s Derby Preps: The Robert B. Lewis and the El Camino Real Derby

  1. Teresa – Some day when you have the time I think Bob (and Beverly) Lewis would be worthy of one of your in-depth looks at the history of racing.

    While they got into the game only in the early 90’s they always seemed to imbue their approach to the game with class and dignity.

    I was lucky enough to attend the 2003 Breeders Cup at Santa Anita. We decided to go to the track the day before as well to familiarize ourselves with the territory (thank God we did! It was a madhouse BC day in the heat). I got a chance to see both Bob and Beverly up close and the very air around them seemed to brighten when they came into the paddock.

  2. Thanks for the suggestion, Bill. I don’t really know a lot about them, but I always hear great things about them from people who know them.

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