Will Regulate Upset the Robert B. Lewis Stakes?
Remember the 2014 Del Mar Futurity (gr. I), when the Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert entered a relatively unheralded maiden named American Pharoah?American Pharoah had shown little when finishing fifth in his debut a month earlier, but that didn’t stop the colt from cruising a decisive victory in the Del Mar Futurity, achieving the rare feat of breaking his maiden in a graded stakes race. For good measure, he went on to become racing’s twelfth Triple Crown winner.
I couldn’t help but think back to American Pharoah when I saw that Baffert had entered #8 Regulate in the February 3rd $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita, a Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race. The colt was hyped prior to his debut going a mile on December 14th at Los Alamitos and started as the odds-on favorite against six rivals, but after making a brief mid-race move, he flattened out and finished a well-beaten sixth.
It was a disappointing first start, and Regulate has been beaten twice more since then, but I think he had some valid excuses for his recent defeats. Two starts back, Regulate contested an 8.5-furlong maiden race against a tough field at Santa Anita and ran a much-improved race, tracking the pace while racing wide and forging to the lead in the homestretch before getting caught in the final strides by the well-regarded #7 Peace, who will also be running in the Robert B. Lewis. Notably, Regulate was beaten less than a length by Peace despite running about 5 ¼ lengths farther according to data from Trakus.
On January 19th, Regulate was favored to win a one-mile maiden race at Santa Anita, but again he received a poor setup, racing very wide on both turns while chasing a fast pace. With this in mind, I was impressed with the sustained bid that Regulate made around the far turn before fading in the final quarter-mile to finish sixth.
I get the impression that there’s more to Regulate than first meets the eye, and apparently Baffert feels the same way since he’s entering the colt in a graded stakes races just over two weeks after a sixth-place finish against maidens. If the Robert B. Lewis Stakes had attracted a tough field, I’d be inclined to pass on Regulate, but going over the field it appears that Peace could start as the favorite, and if that’s the case than Regulate’s effort against Peace two starts back would put him right in contention.
I’ll focus my attention on these two colts as well as #5 Shivermetimbers, who defeated Peace in a fast maiden race at Del Mar in November before finishing fourth behind the talented McKinzie in the Sham Stakes (gr. III) last month.
$10 to win on #8 Regulate at 5-1 or higher $2 exacta: 5,7,8 with 5,7,8 ($12) $1 trifecta: 5,7,8 with 5,7,8 with 5,7,8 ($6) $0.50 trifecta: 8 with 5,7 with 1,2,3,5,7 ($4)