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.