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In a key prep to the $1 million Santa Anita Derby April 7, Jerry Hollendorfer's Gunmetal Gray and Bob Baffert's Mucho Gusto head a field of six sophomores in Saturday's Grade III, $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.
Race 6 on Santa Anita's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:30 PM
|1||Kid Cantina||20-1||Geovanni Franco
|2||Magnificent McCool||10-1||Flavien Prat
|3||Easy Shot||15-1||Rafael Bejarano
|4||Gunmetal Gray||8-5||Mike Smith
|5||Mucho Gusto||7-5||Joseph Talamo
|6||Nolo Contesto||4-1||Joel Rosario
In his best performance to date, Gunmetal Gray rallied from off the pace to take the Grade III, one mile Sham Stakes by one length here on Jan. 5 and thus stamping himself a serious Derby hopeful.
A first-out maiden winner going six furlongs at Los Alamitos Sept. 20, Mucho Gusto then took the Grade III, seven furlong Bob Hope Stakes at Del Mar on Nov. 17 prior to running second in the Grade I Los Alamitos Futurity Dec. 8.
The Lewis winner will receive 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points, with the second, third and fourth place finishers receiving four, two and one point(s), respectively.
Well beaten at 8-1 in his debut going six furlongs on July 29, this grey colt by Exchange Rate surprised many observers by taking a one mile maiden engagement by 6 ¾ lengths going a flat mile on Aug. 22 at Del Mar. Subsequently second, beaten 4 ½ lengths by eventual Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Game Winner in the Grade I American Pharoah Stakes here on Sept. 29, he was then well beaten by Game Winner in the Juvenile Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs.
With the Sham victory in hand, Gunmetal Gray, who will be ridden for the second consecutive time by Mike Smith, looks like the horse to beat in the Lewis on Saturday.
Owner: Hollendorfer, LLC, Pearl Racing and West Point Thoroughbreds | Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer
Quick from the gate in all three starts, look for this chestnut colt by Mucho Macho Man to be winging early under regular rider Joe Talamo. Favored in his first two starts, Mucho Gusto was off at 4-1 in the Los Alamitos Futurity, a race in which he was beaten five lengths by his well fancied stablemate Improbable.
Owner: Michael L. Petersen | Trainer: Bob Baffert
Sham Stakes winner Gunmetal Gray had his final major work for this Saturday's Robert B. Lewis Stakes, going six furlongs Sunday in 1:15.20 for part owner Jerry Hollendorfer.
"He galloped out good," said the Hall of Fame trainer, who has re-engaged Mike Smith to ride in the Grade III event at 1 1/16 miles that offers 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the winner, four to the runner-up, two for the third-place finisher and one to the fourth.
Prior to the one mile Sham on Jan. 5, Gunmetal Gray, a gray son of Exchange Rate, was a distant fifth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Nov. 2 behind undefeated champion Game Winner, but was second to him in the Grade I American Pharoah prior to that last Sept. 29.
Also expected for the Lewis are Kid Cantina, Mucho Gusto and Nolo Contento.Mucho Gusto worked six furlongs Sunday in 1:12.60 for Bob Baffert.
The Robert B. Lewis Stakes is a `Road to the Kentucky Derby' prep race held annually in early February at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, CA. The race is open to 3-year-olds and is the second Derby prep at Santa Anita to start the New Year. The top four finishers are rewarded with Kentucky Derby qualifying points (10-4-2-1). The Grade III race at 1 1/16 miles (8.5 furlongs) has a current purse of $150,000 and is also a key prep race for the Santa Anita Derby in early April.
The Robert B. Lewis stakes was originally called the Santa Catalina Handicap in 1935. In 2007, it was renamed to honor the prominent racehorse owner and philanthropist who died in 2006.
The speed record for the 1 1/16 mile race is 1:40.76 set by Crown of Thoms in 2008. Jockey Bill Shoemaker won the race a record seven times with his last in 1988. Current trainer Bob Baffert has won the race a record six times, and was a regular trainer for Robert B. Lewis.
Notable winners of the Robert B. Lewis Stakes include Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand (1986, Bill Shoemaker), Sham (1973 when Laffit Pincay, Jr. won the race a third straight time), Dortmund (2015, trainer Bob Baffert), Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another (2012), and Pioneer of the Nile (2009 with the late Garrett Gomez riding for Bob Baffert). Pioneer of the Nile finished 2nd in the Kentucky Derby and was the sire of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.
Other Robert B. Lewis Stakes winners that also won the Santa Anita Derby include: Sham (1973), An Act (1976), Larry the Legend (1995), General Challenge (1999), The Deputy (2000), Brother Derek (2006) and I'll Have Another (2012).
Bob and Beverly Lewis were generally beloved and admired, and they graced the sports with a rare brand of dignity and class. The race named in Bob's honor represents his wisdom, class and character, and his love for the sport, California racing and the Kentucky Derby.
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