Rating the 2019 Kentucky Derby Prep Races

Omaha Beach winning the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park - Coady Photography As we head into the final round of Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races, now seems like a good time to look back at the 17 North American prep races already run this year and assign a rating to each one. My ratings—based on a scale of 1 to 5—attempt to blend the apparent strength of each race on paper with its potential [...]

Mucho Gusto Shows New Dimension in Robert B. Lewis Stakes

Mucho Gusto winning the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. III) - © Benoit Photo Everyone knows that Mucho Gusto is fast, but on Saturday the son of Mucho Macho Man revealed a new dimension to his racing ability, settling off the pace before producing a strong finish to win the $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita in dominant fashion. Over a sloppy, sealed track that was playing fast all day, the once-beaten Bob Baffert-trained [...]

Track Condition Could Be Key Factor in Robert B. Lewis Stakes

Mucho Gusto winning the Bob Hope Stakes (gr. III) at Del Mar - © Benoit Photo Regardless of Albert Hammond’s opinion that “It Never Rains in Southern California,” the weather figures to have quite an impact on the $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita. There’s plenty of rain in the forecast between now and Saturday afternoon, when the 1 1/16-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race will be contested, but remember, the main [...]

In Defense of Lombo’s Robert B. Lewis Victory

Lombo winning the Robert B. Lewis Stakes - © Benoit Photo Perhaps the biggest storyline to come out of California so far this year is that Santa Anita Park—formerly renowned as one of the fastest racetracks in the country—has undergone a significant transformation to become a very slow and tiring track. Seemingly gone are the days of 1:33 miles and 1:07 six-furlong sprints, making it challenging to analyze the performances of Santa Anita’s Kentucky Derby contenders. What constitutes [...]

Will Regulate Upset the Robert B. Lewis Stakes?

American Pharoah winning the Breeders' Cup Classic - © Breeders' Cup/Tyger Williams 2015 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 [...]