Saturday, March 10, 2012

San Felipe Stakes Racing Roundup

Trainer Mike Harrington is hoping to score his first win in the San Felipe Stakes (G2) when he sends Empire Way (6-1) and Creative Cause, the 5-2 morning line favorite, to the starting gate today in the 75th running of the $300,000 graded stakes race at Santa Anita Park.

Both young colts have been on my watch list for some time and I expect them to be competitive in today’s race. But neither of them has shown me, yet, whether they may have classic potential – a good performance in today’s race will help to evaluate that.

So far, Creative Cause has performed the better of the two finishing in the money in all six of his career starts. Since his debut win in a maiden race last July, every other race that Creative Cause has competed in has been a graded stakes and he’s compiled a 2-0-3 record.

In his last race, after a three-month layoff, Creative Cause was only beaten one length and he was a game third-place runner up to Drill in the 7-furlong San Vicente Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park. I liked Creative Cause in that race but thought that he may not win because of the layoff and the short distance.

Creative Cause should improve in his second start off the layoff and as the races get longer. A bullet work out on March 6 could have him ready to run a good race.

Empire Way has the breeding to be a classic champion but he’ll have to improve his game if he’s going to wear the Roses in May.

In four career starts, Empire Way has a 1-1-0 record. His second-place finish to I’ll Have Another in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G2) last month was a step in the right direction and I’ll be looking for signs of another move forward in today’s race.

Of all the horses in today’s race, Bodemeister intrigues me the most. Since his debut in January, I’ve been waiting to see him run in a stakes race and a good performance will put him at or near the top of my list.

Bodemeister definitely has the breeding to be a classic champion. His Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile, a tool I use to measure classic potential, is a whopping 96.25. Only two other horses have a higher profile – Alpha (97.50) and Sky Kingdom (107.50). Empire Way’s profile is 88.75 and Creative Cause has a 37.50 profile.

It’s one thing to have good bloodlines but these young colts need to live up to their breeding if they’re going to make it to the Kentucky Derby winners circle.

In his maiden win last month at Santa Anita Park, Bodemeister cruised to a 9¼-length victory while running a mile in swift 1:34.45 and the chart call notes that he “was under a hold the final sixteenth.”

That’s the kind of performance I like to see in a young colt that I think may have classic potential and if Bodemeister continues to move forward on the trail, he’s probably the best shot that Hall of Fame Trainer Bob Baffert has at winning the Kentucky Derby. (I’m also interested in Baffert’s other trainee Castaway.)

A long shot I’m interested in is Groovin Solo (20-1). His third-place in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G2) last month was a good effort coming off the layoff.

Since his last race, Groovin solo has been keen to run firing two bullet work outs at Santa Anita and another move forward should make him competitive in today’s race.


  1. No mention for Liason ? colt should run huge this Saturday. Blinkers off and gets a solid pace to run against. First 6-furlongs figures 1:09 and 2/5.

  2. Barry,

    I wouldn't be surprised if Liaison ran a good race.

    The Robert B. Lewis was such a weird race - i liked Sky Kingdom and Liaison in that race. It's hard to say where he would have finished if he had not lost the jockey.

    Empire Way and Groovin Solo both beat him in that race and Raphael Bejarano picks up the mount on Bodemeister.

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  4. Baffert states the colt was re-rallying when the incident occurred. Watching the replay, I would have to agree. Would have made to hole.

    Blinkers Off and Martin who did not have a legit Derby mount, gets the call.

    Jockey has the golden touch with Baffert since Gomez departure.