Santa Anita Park - A promising pair of homebreds, Hal and Patti Earnhardt's Ax Man and Kaleem Shah's All Out Blitz head a field of six sophomores going seven furlongs in Saturday's Grade II, $200,000 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita. To be run for the 78th time, the San Vicente serves as a traditional prep to the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 7.
Trained by Bob Baffert, Ax Man, a devastating 9 ½ length first-out maiden winner going six furlongs here on Jan. 1, will hope to lead his connections down the Derby Trail with another impressive score as he approaches a two-turn assignment in the near future.
Trained by Simon Callaghan, All Out Blitz cuts back in distance following a second place finish to Baffert's highly regarded McKinzie in the Grade III, one mile Sham Stakes on Jan. 6. A gutty nose maiden winner two starts back on Dec. 17 at Los Alamitos, All Out Blitz would appear better suited sprinting.
2018 San Vicente Stakes Odds & Entries
Race 6 on Santa Anita's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:30 PM
Owner: Patti and Hal Earnhardt III
Trainer: Bob BaffertBy Baffert's 2010 Santa Anita Handicap winner, Misremembered, Ax Man is out of Earnhardt's Flying Chevron mare Shameful, and is thus a half brother to two-time Eclipse Champ Indian Blessing. Off at 7-5 versus nine rivals in his debut, Ax Man was further flattered by the fact trainer Mike Pender's Lombo, who finished third, beaten 10 ½ lengths, came back to easily win this past Saturday's Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes at a mile and one sixteenth.
With Drayden Van Dyke set to ride him back, Ax Man figures to pose an elusive front-running target in the San Vicente.
ALL OUT BLITZ
Owner: Kaleem Shah, Inc.
Trainer: Simon Callaghan
Bred in Kentucky by Shah, All Out Blitz is by Concord Point, a son of super-stallion Tapit. Sent to the front in the Lewis, All Out Blitz finished four lengths in front of the third horse, but was no match for McKinzie through the drive, as he was beaten 3 ½ lengths at odds of 14-1. Unlike Ax Man, he is not Triple Crown nominated and may be kept at sprint distances for the time being.
With a win, a second and a third place finish from his four starts, All Out Blitz will likely sit second early under Tyler Baze as they try to keep the favorite within their sights.
KRIS' ROCKET KAT
Owner: JK Racing Stable, LLC or Chandler
Trainer: Richard Baltas
Idle since an impressive 3 ¼ length maiden win going six furlongs on Nov. 25 at Del Mar, this chestnut colt by Eskendereya will hope to get on the Derby Trail with a big effort off the bench on Saturday. A well-beaten fifth in his debut here Sept. 30 at odds of 21-1, he was off at 4-1 in a field of 11 for the maiden score.
A $105,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase, he'd make that investment look like a bargain should he pull off an upset in the San Vicente.