It's Bob Baffert v. Doug O'Neill in the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita
Santa Anita is an integral part of the lead up to the Kentucky Derby on May 4. Saturday's Grade II San Felipe Stakes will play a big role in determining the field for the Greatest Two Minutes in Sports.
In the seventh race all eyes will be on the duel between Bob Baffert's Flashback and Doug O'Neill's Goldencents in this $300,000 race for three-year olds. Flashback, an current 8-5 favorite, started his career impressively winning his maiden special weight by 3-1/2 length going seven furlongs back on Dec. 8 at Betfair Hollywood Park and winning a four-horse field of the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes by 6-1/4 lengths at Santa Anita on Feb. 2.
Flashback drew the no. 2 post while rival Doug O'Neill's Goldencents drew no. 3. Can you just smell the drama?
Goldencents will hopefully take O'Neill where last year's wonder horse I'll Have Another failed to do: the elusive Triple Crown. I'll Have Another pulled out of the Belmont Stakes 24 hours before the race with tendinitis of a hind leg.
After winning his maiden special weight and coming up second to Shanghai Bobby at the Grade I Champagne Stakes at Belmont, Goldencents has won the Grade III Delta Downs Jackpot at 1-1/16 mile and the Grade III Sham Stakes at one mile.
What's different for O'Neill this year: I'll Have Another won the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at 43-1. Goldencents was favored 8-5 when he broke his maiden and is the money leader of this field of eight and now is 2-1 behind Flashback for the Stakes. Beyond that there are other differences.
"I'll Have Another never really needed to work fast," O'Neill pointed out. "He had kind of different gears, where Goldencents is like a Ferrari every day."
Another intriguing horse is the "other Baffert" horse, Carving racing from the No. 1 post and a 15-1 longshot. Owned by Olympic downhill skiier Bode Miller and wife-of-Bob Jill Baffert, Carving has bounced back after finishing fourth in the Grade I FrontRunner Stakes on Sept. 29 to win the Real Quiet Stakes at Hollywood Park in November. Okay, so he's been disappointing in his next two races, but with a track that's a bit slow thanks to the rain things can get interesting. Plus at 15-1 there's a lot of value.
The winner of the San Felipe Stakes will earn 50 points in the new Kentucky Derby Championship Series. A show earns 20 points, place earns 10 points and fourth earns five points. The winner will also be the horse to watch in the second leg of the series in the Santa Anita Derby on Apr. 6 where the winner will earn 100 points.
The field is as follows:
- Carving. Trainer: Bob Baffert; Jockey: Rafael Bejarano; 15-1
- Flashback. Trainer: Bob Baffert; Jockey: Julien Leparoux; 8-5
- Goldencents. Trainer: Doug O'Neill; Jockey: Kevin Krigger; 2-1
- Kochees. Trainer: Mike Pender; Jockey: Jose Valdivia, Jr.; 15-1
- Hear the Ghost. Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer; Jockey: Corey Nakatani; 6-1
- Tiz a Minister. Trainer: Paul G. Aguirre; Jockey: Garrett Gomez; 12-1
- Salutos Amigos. Trainer: Eric J. Guillot; Jockey: Martin Garcia; 6-1
- Omega Star. Trainer: John Shirreffs; Jockey: Joseph Talamo; 6-1
Santa Anita will also host a Family Fun Day in the infield and off a $15 package including parking and a program for law enforcement personnel. The first of the nine races will post at 12:30 p.m. and the San Felipe Stakes will post at around 3:35 p.m.