The San Felipe Stakes

The racing office at Santa Anita really stretched out to find seven contenders for Saturday’s Grade 2, $400,000 dollar San Felipe Stakes— which regardless of its field size and betting potential is a notable stop on the 2020 Kentucky Derby trail.

No fewer than four serious Triple Crown hopefuls will line up in the eighth race of the day, a 1 1/16-mile test allotting Derby points on a 50-20-10-5 scale to its top-four finishers.

Take a horse-by-horse closer look at the field with projected Morning Line odds.  Post time is approximately 6 p.m. ET.

1. FORT McHENRY  [ML 25-1]  Trainer: Doug O’Neill.  Jockey: Abel Cedillo.  He was gelded for his prior start, will take blinkers off on Saturday, and that may help him stretch his speed.  He has flashed talent, but largely disappointed, making him tough to play here.

2. HONOR A.P.  [ML 4-1]  Trainer: John Shirreffs.  Jockey: Mike Smith.  He has worked into shape with a pair of 7/8-mile breezes recently, and that has been it been since the flashy second time-out Win on October 19th.  He has two-turn experience, and his figures fit.  Maybe he’s this talented. 

3. WRECKING CREW  [ML 12-1]  Trainer: Peter Miller.  Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione.  He got off slow, was keen to go and then out of breath by the far turn.  That was the WRECKING CREW mess when last seen in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2).  Was that a failed distance test, or simply one to draw a line through?  

4. AUTHENTIC  [ML 8-5]  Trainer: Bob Baffert.  Jockey: Drayden Van Dyke.  He’s perfect so far in record, but not running style.  He obviously has talent, but Baffert has discussed equipment changes such as earplugs to keep him focused.  There’s always some risk in betting on it to work, especially when offering no Value.  

5. THOUSAND WORDS  [ML 2-1]  Trainer: Bob Baffert.  Jockey: Flavien Prat.  He has done just enough to stay undefeated.  Whether that’s a sign he hasn’t been properly tested, we’ll find out Saturday.  Prat kept the mount on this colt rather than STORM THE COURT, though there’s also the bigger picture to consider.  Stay on this one, and he’ll be in line to ride other Baffert stars.  

6. STORM THE COURT  [ML 6-1]  Trainer: Peter Eurton.  Jockey: Joel Rosario.  He is back to running around two turns, and should be more forwardly placed here. If he runs back  to the 102 Speed Rating from his Breeders’ Cup Juvenile upset Victory it may make him a Winner here, and likely at a price.  

7. SWAGSATIONAL  [ML 30-1]  Trainer: Heath Lawrence.  Jockey: Kassie Guglielmino.  This Washington-bred opened his career 0-for-7 before reeling off three straight Wins at Turf Paradise, including consecutive Stakes there.  What keyed the improvement?  Hard to pinpoint, but even with the light bulb on he figures to be severely over matched. 

Summary: With a short field, this looks like one in which to play a strong opinion against the favorite or simply watch for its impact on the Derby Trail.  If AUTHENTIC and HONOR A. P. don’t turn out to be freaky sort of talents, STORM THE COURT looks like a strong Win contender having already run fast enough to beat this bunch.

The Play:  It’s tough to bet against the Kings of California (Bob Baffert, Mike Smith) but with a race short on Value the Daily Racing Blog is going to take a shot with STORM THE COURT.  We’ll play a Trifecta key using the #6 with All, and hope that a long shot gets up for 2nd or 3rd.

Best of luck no matter how you play it.

On Friday the Daily Racing Blog will take a close look at Saturday’s Tampa Bay Derby, which should offer us a better (more Value) wagering proposition.  So be sure to stop back.

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