Strub Stakes 2014 Contenders & Odds

Dave Bond | OTB Writer

Las Vegas, NV - Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California will play host to the Grade 2 Strub Stakes this Saturday, January 18. Horses four years old will take to Santa Anita's dirt track and go 1 1/16 miles chasing the winner's share of the $200,000 purse.

The Strub Stakes has attracted a strong field of eight to go in race 8 on Santa Anita's Saturday card. Post time is 4:00 PM. Here is a brief glance into the past performances of all eight combatants for this Grade 2 stakes - the best of which come from the barns of Bob Baffert and Jerry Hollendorfer.

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2014 Strub Stakes Race Favorite Entries

Shakin It Up - Bob Baffert pupil raced for the first time since a fourth in the Grade 2 Sunland Derby March 24 in his only try around two turns and impressively won the Grade 1 Malibu at 17-1 odds with a 106 Beyer Speed Figure here December 26 over many of his Strub Stakes foes. He also had a very nice win in the seven furlong Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita February 17 and a decent third in the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue Stakes in November 2012. Shakin It Up has three career wins, a second and a third place finish in six starts and has won two of his last three (both graded stakes) ahead of the Strub. He has won three of four starts at Santa Anita and will have the terrific Mike Smith in the saddle from post 3.

Hear The Ghost - lightly raced Jerry Hollendorfer trained gelding has just five career starts - a good second in the San Pedro Stakes at Santa Anita last January 21 after a Maiden Special Weight score in his debut at 16-1 odds here December 15. In March he won his graded stakes debut - the Grade 2 San Felipe and then was forced to the sidelines for eight months. Hear the Ghost returned November 7 to a second as even money favorite in an Allowance Optional Claiming on this track. Last time out was another very good second behind Blueskiesnrainbows as 5-2 favorite in the Grade 3 Native Diver at Hollywood Park December 14. That makes two wins and three second in five career starts for Hear the Ghost.

Strub Stakes 2014 | Remaining Contenders

Govenor Charlie - Bob Baffert trainee hasn't been seen since an eighth in the Preakness Stakes May 18 which followed a win by five lengths in the Grade 3 Sunland Derby at Sunland Park March 24. He started his career with two MSW races - a win at Santa Anita February 17 over the very tough Footbridge after a second in his debut also at Santa Anita January 19. He is lightly raced and rust could be a factor but Govenor Charlie is still an intriguing entry to the Strub. Regular rider Martin Garcia gets the call.

Zeewat - very impressive Jerry Hollendorfer colt has 12 career starts with six wins including the minor California Derby over Wildcat Moon January 12, the Gold Rush Stakes December 8 and in the minor Damascus Stakes over Flashback here November 2. Before that was a fourth in the Grade 3 Gallant Bob at Parx and an Allowance score at Golden Gate. Last time out was his Grade 1 debut - an OK third behind Shakin It Up in the Malibu Stakes on this track December 26 - a race the he earned a 103 Beyer Speed Figure. His other graded stakes start resulted in a fifth in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby in February. Zeewat has won two of his last four and has to be confident after a win over the very talented Flashback two back. Rafael Bejarano will be in the saddle from post 4 as Zeewat tries for his second win in two starts over 1 1/16 miles.

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Rookie Sensation - John Shirreffs trained colt has six career starts with three wins and a second place finish. He had a stakes debut to remember - a win in the Grade 2 Twilight Derby at 8-1 odds at Santa Anita November 1 and before that impressive win was an Allowance Optional Claiming score, a second in a similar race and a maiden score in his second career start on this track June 16. Last time out however was a career worst - a fifth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby December 1. Victor Espinoza has been tabbed to ride Rookie Sensation in his first start on dirt.

Heir of Storm - Peter Miller trained colt raced to a fourth in the 2012 Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes and followed that with an eleventh in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity. Since then he had concentrated on Allowance Optional Claiming races before a seventh last time out in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes December 26 - recording just one win in those four Allowance Optional Claiming starts last year - that coming on this track November 1 by an impressive 4 1/4 lengths at 37-1 odds with a Beyer Speed Figure of 102.

Dice Flavor - Patrick Gallagher trained colt made his stakes debut with an upset win in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby at 9-1 odds at Golden Gate February 16 and won again in the competitive Grade 2 La Jolla Handicap at 9-1 odds at Del Mar August 10. He has certainly struggled since - a fifth last time out in the Grade 2 Sir Beaufort Stakes here December 26 followed an eighth in the Grade 2 Twilight Derby at Santa Anita November 1 and a tenth in the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby September 1. He also had a third in the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes here in July, a fourth in the Grade 3 Affirmed and a doomed trip to Meydan Racecourse last year. Dice Flavor looked good early in the year but has struggled mightily in his last three starts overall.

Say Ow - Julio Canini pupil has 12 career starts with two wins and two seconds and a third place finish and enters off a fourth in an Allowance Optional Claiming here January 1. Before that was a third in a similar race November 29, a disappointing ninth in the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby in September and a seventh in the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby in August. He broke maiden in May at Hollywood Park and followed that with an Allowance Optional Claiming score on that same track - two straight wins heading into the West Virginia Derby - the only two victories of his career.

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