(Thousand Words / Photo Courtesy of Santa Anita)
From the Santa Anita Media Team:
RACE IS FINAL MAJOR STEPPINGSTONE TO GRADE I, $1 MILLION SANTA ANITA DERBY APRIL 4
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 4, 2020)–In what has become one of the nation’s most important Derby preps, Saturday’s G2, $400,000 San Felipe Stakes once again promises to showcase some of the best sophomore talent anywhere as Bob Baffert’s undefeated twosome of Authentic and Thousand Words, along with Peter Eurton’s Eclipse Award winning Storm the Court and John Shirreffs’ classy Honor A.P., head a field of seven 3-year-olds at a mile and one sixteenth.
The San Felipe will award a total of 85 all-important Kentucky Derby qualifying points, with 50 to the winner, 20 to second, 10 to third and five points to the fourth place finisher.
Owner: SF Racing, LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, LLC, Frederick Hertrich, III, John D. Fielding and Golconda Stables
Trainer: Bob Baffert
A tremendously gifted colt by Into Mischief, Authentic, who was heavily favored, broke his maiden at first asking going 5 ½ furlongs at Del Mar Nov. 9, winning by 1 ½ lengths. The 6-5 favorite in the Grade III Sham Stakes at one mile here on Jan. 4, he daylighted his rivals by 7 ¾ lengths, but gave regular rider Drayden Van Dyke some anxious moments late, as he nearly brushed the inner rail a furlong out. “I think the noise from the crowd made him react the way he did there in the stretch,” said Van Dyke. “…I told Bob when he broke his maiden he was my favorite 2-year-old. He’s very talented.” A $350,000 Keeneland September Yearling, look for Authentic to blast off as he tries to make every pole a winning one.
Owner: Albaugh Family Stables, LLC & Spendthrift Farm, LLC
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Although he hasn’t yet shown the “flash” exhibited by his stablemate, Thousand Words, a $1 million Keeneland September Yearling, has been oh-so efficient in winning all three of his starts, the most recent a workmanlike three quarter length tally in the Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on Feb. 1. A winner of the Grade II Los Alamitos Futurity at the same distance over an off track Dec. 7, Thousand Words has a grinding style and a will to win that could prove invaluable in the coming days and months. With regular rider Flavien Prat back aboard, Thousand Words will hope to be able to look his competition in the eye the final sixteenth of a mile on Saturday. If so, he will be tough to deny.
STORM THE COURT
Owner: Exline-Border Racing, LLC, David Bernsen, LLC, Dan Hudock & Susanna Wilson
Trainer: Peter Eurton
A tremendous story, this Kentucky-bred colt by Court Vision sold for $60,000 at a 2-year-old in training sale in Florida 11 months ago and with a 45-1 victory in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile two starts back on Nov. 1, he has banked $1,184,951 from two wins in five starts. In a race he probably needed, Storm the Court, who was voted 2019’s Eclipse Award winning Juvenile Male, finished fourth, beaten 2 ¼ lengths by Baffert’s highly regarded Nadal going seven furlongs in the Grade II San Vicente Stakes on Feb. 9. Although he never threatened for the win, “Storm” seemed to relish the fight and galloped out very strong. With a recent race in hand, Storm the Court rates a big chance as Joel Rosario takes over from Flavien Prat, who’s opted to stick with Thousand Words.
Owner: C R K Stables, LLC
Trainer: John Shirreffs
A $850,000 Fasig Tipton 2-year-old in training sale grad, this Honor Code ridgling showed great promise in his maiden win on Oct. 13, as he led throughout en route to an impressive 5 ¼ length win going a flat mile in what was his second start. Idle since, long striding Honor A.P. makes his 3-year-old debut in the deep waters of the San Felipe, but his connections are hopeful the talent he showed four months ago will carry the day with Mike Smith back in the saddle Saturday.
THE GRADE II SAN FELIPE WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 8 of 12 Approximate post time 3 p.m. PT
- Fort McHenry–Abel Cedillo–120
- Honor A.P.–Mike Smith–120
- Wrecking Crew–Tyler Gaffalione–120
- Authentic–Drayden Van Dyke–122
- Thousand Words–Flavien Prat–124
- Storm the Court–Joel Rosario–124
- Swagsational–Kassie Guglielmino–122
Special early first post time for a 12 race card on Saturday is at 11:30 a.m., with admission gates opening at 9:30 a.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.