A trio of stakes races on the Road to the 2013 Kentucky Derby are on tap for Saturday, Feb 2: the Grade 3 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct (Post Time: 4:18pm Eastern; TV: TVG & HRTV), the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs (Post Time: 5:23pm Eastern TV: TVG & HRTV), and Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita (Post Time: 5:03pm Eastern; TV: TVG & HRTV).
Let's take a quick look at the fields for each race.
2-Revolutionary tries stakes company for the first time after blowing away a field of maidens by over eight lengths back on Dec. 28. That big performance came over a track rated as "good" so perhaps this Saturday's race will provide a glimpse as to whether that effort indicates a breakthrough performance or a wet track freak fest.
The speed of the speed in the Withers appears to be 3-Escapefromreality, a son of Read the Footnotes out of an unraced Medagllia d'Oro mare (Queen of the City). He's stretching out to two turns for the first time in his career after a racing at 5 1/2 and 6 furlongs in his first two efforts.
The Darley coupled entry (1-Long River and 1a-Valid) bot come into the Withers off strong efforts last time out. Valid broke his maiden at Laurel on New Year's Eve, while Long River was fourth in the G2-Jerome in his graded stakes debut.
5-Siete de Oros also comes out of the Jerome where he finished second by a head to winner Vyjack; a solid effort considering he broke a bit awkwardly from the starting gate and had to hustle up along the inside in the early stages. At the very minimum, Siete de Oros got a lot of education in the Jerome (even if he didn't win the race) and his post might give him a little more room for error at the start and keep him out away from the rail.
G3-Sam F. Davis Stakes
1a-Dynamic Sky won the local prep for the Davis, the Pasco Stakes, by three-quarters of a length over Sky Commander back on Jan. 12. If you go back and watch the replay of the Pasco you'll notice that Dynamic Sky put in a strong run in the final furlong after he finally got clear of the horses to his inside and found his best stride. He appears to me to be a colt that takes a little bit to get going but when he finally gets his body in gear -- watch out.
I think you can toss that Breeders' Cup Juvenile race off the page as he had a pretty rough trip all the way around the track. Check the trip note from the chart:
"DYNAMIC SKY, taken to rate off the rail, advanced to forward position near the far turn, was herded out five wide making some progress into the stretch, steadied in tight quarters in mid stretch, altered in and came up empty."
The replay paints the same picture as the chart description; it's tough to run on well at the finish when you encounter a tough trip.
4-My Name Is Michael ran well in three of his four starts at Woodbine over the Polytrack but I find it tough to back a Canadian shipper after some of the flops by other Woodbine horses in Derby preps this spring. One the good side, however, is the fact that he's worked pretty well over the dirt surface at the Payson Park Training Center the last couple of weeks. It remains to be seen if he can transfer his form to the main track on race day.
G2-Robert B. Lewis Stakes
The field for the Lewis is about as weak as it gets in terms of size and depth. Bob Baffert's 2-Flashback impressively broke him maiden at Betfair Hollywood Park on Dec. 8 but will stretch out to two turns for the first time in the Lewis. The show horse from that maiden race, Appealing Tate, came back to beat a group of Maiden Special Weights at Santa Anita on Dec. 29.
Flashback sat about three to four lengths off the pace in his debut and he appears to be able to settle into a good rhythm in the early stages. However, the field for the Lewis has little to no speed to speak of, which means Flashback probably going to find himself on the lead. The colt to Flashback immediate outside, 3-Den's Legacy, also has a bit of speed in his arsenal, but it seems unlikely that the two horses trained by Bob Baffert are going to get into a speed duel in the early stages. But who knows, stranger things have occurred in the past.
4-He's Had Enough is a nice looking colt in a race that probably doesn't set up well for him in terms of pace. He's come from the middle to the back of the pack in all five of his prior starts, although he displayed a bit more early foot in his lone try on the dirt in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. I'm not sure he's going to be able to spot Flashback or Den's Legacy four or five lengths down the backstretch if he has any intention of winning this race.
Below are the entries and post positions for Saturday's Withers, Sam F. Davis and Robert B. Lewis Stakes races.
I'll update the morning line odds when they are released. The morning lines for the Withers and the Sam F. Davis are out.
|G3-Withers Stakes; Post Time: 4:18pm Eastern|
|1||1||Long River||I. Ortiz||K. McLaughlin||7/2|
|2||1a||Valid||J. Alvarado||K. McLaughlin||7/2|
|3||2||Revolutionary||J. Castellano||T. Pletcher||3/5|
|4||3||Escapefromreality||J. Ortiz||D. Schettino||6/1|
|5||4||Amerigo Vespucci||E. Rodriguez||T. Tullock||15/1|
|6||5||Siete de Oros||M. Remedio||R. Preciado||8/1|
|7||6||Champion Boy||E. Castro||J. Guerrero||30/1|
|8||7||Smooth Bert||M. Luzzi||L. Gyarmati||15/1|
|G3-Sam F. Davis Stakes; Post Time: 5:23pm Eastern|
|1||2||Silver Day||M. Pedroza||W. Kaplan||20/1|
|2||3||Divine Ambition||W. Martinez||D. Miller||8/1|
|3||4||My Name is Michael||J. Rosario||W. Mott||4/1|
|4||5||Speak Logistics||A. Serpa||E. Plesa, Jr.||3/1|
|5||6||Lightning Stone||D. Coa||W. Allyn||30/1|
|6||1||Northern Lion||P. Husbands||M. Casse||9/5|
|7||7||Balino||N. Goodwin||B. Rhone||30/1|
|8||8||Falling Sky||L. Saez||J. Terranova||5/1|
|9||1a||Dynamic Sky||L. Contreras||M. Casse||9/5|
|10||9||Midnite Poppa||J. Lezcano||N. Zito||10/1|
|G2-Robert B. Lewis Stakes; Post Time: 5:03pm Eastern|
|1||Little Jerry||T. Baze||R. Baltas|
|2||Flashback||J. Leparoux||B. Baffert|
|3||Den's Legacy||G. Gomez||B. Baffert|
|4||He's Had Enough||M. Gutierrez||D. O'Neill|