Friday, March 11, 2011

San Felipe Stakes Racing Roundup

Jaycito will make his 3-year-old debut tomorrow for new trainer Bob Baffert as the lukewarm 7-2 morning line favorite of the $250,000 San Felipe Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park.

Jaycito has not raced in over four months and comes in the San Felipe with a seventh-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) last November at Churchill Downs.

Despite the layoff, I like the trainer switch to Baffert and I like it that he is bringing Jaycito back to distance I believe is more suited to his running style. With Victory Gallop as his sire and Ascot Knight as his damsire, Jaycito should do better as the races get longer.

Baffert won the San Felipe in 1999, 2001, 2004 and 2009 and is currently tied with Charlie Whittingham for most wins as a trainer.

Runflatout, Comma To The Top and Premier Pegasus get the tag as the second co-choice at 4-1 morning line odds.

Of those three, Premier Pegasus is the one I like the most. I wrote about him in my 2011 Kentucky Derby Outlook and he, too, should perform better as the races get longer.

In his 3-year-old debut, Premier Pegasus suffered his only loss in four starts finishing third to speedster The Factor in the San Vicente Stakes (G3) on February 20 at Santa Anita Park. Premier Pegasus earned a 100 Brisnet Speed Figure for that effort and despite the gut-busting pace the race appears to have been a good conditioner.

Premier Pegasus should improve in his second start off the layoff and a bullet work out on March 5 appears to have him ready to run another good race.

Bench Points (8-1) is undefeated in four starts and he’s never run in a route race. But with Benchmark as his sire and Free House as the damsire, the 8 ½ - furlong San Felipe should be well within his scope.

The only race I’ve seen Bench Points run in was the Graduation Stakes and I thought he was impressive in that race. He’s been facing 10-horse fields and with comments like “Split foes,” “Pulled five wide” and “Squeezed at start,” Bench Points appears to be competitive.

At 8-1 or higher, I like Bench Points for a long shot.

Awesome Patriot (12-1) is another long shot I like. Awesome Patriot has not raced in more than two months and he also makes his 3-year-old debut for Baffert.

Despite the layoff, Awesome Patriot seems to be under the radar coming into this race as most of the attention has been on Baffert’s other entry Jaycito. Awesome Patriot’s last race on December 29 was impressive and since then he’s fired several bullet work outs leading up to this race.

If he looks good in the post parade, Awesome Patriot may warrant a small win, place bet.


  1. I really like Bench Points in the San Felipe. His last couple of races looked really good to me and I love his style.
    Jaycito looks ready to run a big race as well, I really liked him last year. Hopefully Bench Points can make a good race of it.

  2. Brian,

    I'm looking forward to watching Bench Points run. I've been following Jaycito since last Summer and now is the time to make a big move forward.

    All in all, the San Felipe is shaping up to be a good, competitive race.

    Thanks for the comments. Good luck!

  3. Well the 150K push the colt into the Derby picture in a big way. Aired by 7, is no fluke, for the two turn victor.

    Stamp himself as the Santa Anita Derby favorite.

    The Factor was just flattered

  4. Barry,

    Premier Pegasus' win in the San Felipe Stakes was impressive and it established him as a leader in the 2011 class of Thoroughbreds leading up to the Kentucky Derby.

    Premier Pegasus lived up to my expectations as he was one of the horses I profiled in my 2011 Kentucky Derby Outlook blog.

    I also profiled To Honor And Serve and Brethren but they have let me down in their performance. However, I have not given up on them but they will have to make a big move forward to be a factor in the Derby.

    I'm also looking forward to see if Elite Alex can make a big move forward in The Rebel Stakes.

  5. Look forward to Sway Away, Alternation and Archarcharch running big in the Rebel Stakes. Elite Alex, maybe. He needs more ground and a racing strip that better suites his running style. J.P. and The Factor can make toast and might have a chance to round out the super.

  6. Anonymous,

    I like several of the horses you mentioned. I haven't seen the entries yet but I think the Rebel will be a competitive race.

    Sway Away was one of my top picks in the San Vicente. Archarcharch was a long shot pick in the Southwest and Elite Alex is a horse I'm very interested in.