Brian’s Derby Preps 2015: The Robert B. Lewis

Santa Anita: The Grade III, $150,000 Robert B. Lewis at 1 1/16 miles

by Brian Nadeau

#1 Tizcano (15-1): Longshot goes back to the Miller barn after a one-race trip to Gulfstream Park where he didn’t fire in the 6F Spectacular Bid last month and also runs beyond six furlongs for the first time today. Son of Tiznow is certainly bred for this and then some, and you could imagine him taking the initiative from the inside, especially since he’s coming out of some very fast-paced sprints. On paper there’s not a ton of speed, with just Firing Line to his outside the only other runner who wants to mix it up early, so maybe he shakes loose and gets brave, but that’s a mighty tall order for a horse who has done nothing up to this point to show he belongs with these; pop and stop time.

#2 Rock Shandy (6-1): Price player jumped way up in his dirt debut last time, when a clear second to stablemate and heavy favorite Calculator (who has since been injured and is off the Derby trail) in the local GIII Sham, and you’re allowed to think he can build on that initial run and improve even more here. The second from Miller is clearly the best of the pai,r and he showed a nice stalking gear in the Sham, so if the rail, ‘Line and heavy favorite Dortmund feel like getting hot and bothered a bit earlier than expected, this son of Lemon Drop Kid is going to be there sitting back and licking his chops when they hit the far turn. There’s no doubt the waters get deeper here and the pair on the outside deserve a ton of respect, but with plenty of upside and a nice price, let’s give him the call to post the surprise; upset special.

#3 Sebastian’s Heart (30-1): Huge longshot went off-form to end his 2yo campaign and picks a mighty ambitious spot to debut at 3, especially when you consider he’s never been past six furlongs on the main track. If you’re looking for positives, dad Broken Vow was a two-turn specialist and he’s another who can trip out nicely off the speed, but passing them in the lane is another story altogether. Papaprodromou has been known to pull a surprise or two in his day, but this gelding is far too outgunned to build on that resume; easy toss.

#4 Hero Ten All (10-1): Stretchrunner couldn’t make a dent late in the Sham and was a well-beaten sixth, which does not bode well for his chances here as they went very fast that day, yet he still couldn’t pass but a few. Mullins trainee looked good winning a two-turn MSW at Los Alamitos Race Course two back and surely has some talent, but there are others in here that are already faster, not to mention that they’ll be open lengths ahead of him when they turn for home. If you’re spreading underneath in the vertical exotics, then maybe he can pick up a piece or two, but anything but a minor award appears his ceiling; could rally for a small share.

#5 Firing Line (7-5): Tough luck runner did everything but win the GI Los Alamitos Futurity when last seen, as he dueled on the lead through fast fractions and lost the bob to perfect-trip winner Dortmund, in what was a coming-out effort for sure. Son of Arkansas Derby winner Line of David has the speed to lead or sit just off Tizcano, depending on what that poorly drawn rival wants to do, and it’s not hard to envision the same scenario developing here as it did last time, with him getting the jump on Dortmund and then trying to hold him off in the lane. Callaghan has made a name for himself in California over the past few years and is just one big horse away from doing so on the national scene, and with a versatile running style and a pedigree to run on, this colt could be the one to bring him to the masses; looms the one to beat.

#6 Dortmund (4-5): The heavy favorite was all the rage after his rousing two-turn optional claiming win at Churchill Downs to end his 2yo season, and that run sent him off as the favorite in the Derby Future Wager. Baffert charge showed he’s a good one when he won the bob over ‘Line at LRC, but that run was much more workmanlike than brilliant, and you are allowed to wonder if he’s bridged the gap from two to three or was just a hotshot juvenile that didn’t improve? Son of Big Brown also gives the impression that he’ll be more of a crack miler than router, and while 1 1/16 miles is obviously within his scope, he also didn’t run by like you thought he would last time. The toteboard will tell you he’s the one to beat, and he’s going to trip out nicely again, but at a short price with as many questions as answers, let’s make him prove it today; trying to beat on top.

Selections:

#2 Rock Shandy

#5 Firing Line

#6 Dortmund

 

 

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