Hall of Fame Trainer Bob Baffert has the opportunity today to win his fourth Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G2) and tie the record currently held by Charles Whittingham and Ron McAnally. Baffert’s chances look pretty good too as he sends 2-1 morning line favorite Tiz Chrome and Macias (8-1) to the starting gate of the $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita.
Tiz Chrome has yet to run two turns and will be making his graded-stakes debut. But he’s bred to go the distance and if he lives up to his breeding, I believe that Tiz Chrome is the most likely winner. Undefeated in two starts, Tiz Chrome comes into the race with 3 ¼ -length maiden win in a 6-furlong sprint at Churchill Downs last November. In December, Tiz Chrome powered home to a 4-length victory in the 6 ½ -furlong Stuka Stakes at Hollywood Park.
Macias held on to win the Eddie Logan Stakes by three-quarters of a length last December and I look for him to round out the bottom of the exotics.
Caracortado (6-1) looks like an interesting long shot. Undefeated in four starts, Caracortado is also making his graded-stakes debut and comes into the race with a 1 ¾ -length win last December in the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes at Santa Anita. If he comes from off the pace like he did in his last race, Caracortado should be competitive.
American Lion (5-2) has not raced in two months and will be stretching out in his first route race. He comes into the Lewis with a half-length win last November in the Hollywood Prevue Stakes (G3) at Hollywood Park. Last October, American Lion broke his maiden in a 7-furlong sprint at Keeneland Park by an impressive 6 ¾ -lengths.
Trained by Gary Contessa, Eightyfiveinafifty is the 2-5 morning line favorite and heads a field of six 3-year-olds entered today in the $100,000 Whirlaway Stakes at Aqueduct. In January, Eightyfiveinafifty broke his maiden in a 6-furlong sprint at Aqueduct winning by an impressive 17 ¼ -lengths and earning a 109 Brisnet Speed Figure for that effort. Despite that impressive win, I believe this is a wide-open race and there others here I like better.
If Peppi Knows stays at or near 15-1 that would be great because I believe that he has a good chance to win or definitely be in the money. In his five previous starts, Peppi Knows has never been out of the money and he comes into the Whirlaway with three wins, a first and a second-place finish. In November, Peppi Knows finished second in the Remsen Stakes (G2) to Buddy’s Saint, beaten by 4 ¾ -lengths. Since then, Peppi Knows has been working out good and should be competitive in this race.
Afleet Again at 30-1 morning line odds looks interesting and could, perhaps, pull off the upset. If you throw out Afleet Again’s fifth-place finish in the Count Fleet Stakes, his progression since last October has been steadily improving and he’s never been out of the money in any of those races. His last race January 17 was his best by far, earning a 92 speed figure for that effort and the turnaround time fits the race pattern. He could be ready for another good effort.
Papa’s Nice Cat (15-1) also shows some nice progression. Hia speed figures have improved with each race and his sharp work out January 23 could indicate that he is ready for a good effort.