ARCADIA, CA – Michael Lombardi’s 8/1 longshot Lombo laid down the law against eight other 3-year-olds, taking the field wire to wire in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita.
Off sharpest of the bunch from post 4 under Flavien Prat, Lombo quickly took command heading into the far turn and set splits of :23.40, :47.26, and 1:12.20. Unhurried down the backside, even as a trio of horses seemed to catch him before the far turn, Lombo lumbered on and repelled his foes, gaining a 4-length lead by the top of the stretch. Prat kept him to task through to the wire, which he crossed by 2 lengths in a final time of 1:45.41 for the 1 1/16-mile main track event.
“He ran a big race,” Prat said. “They put a little pressure on him down the backside, but he was nice and relaxed. I worked him last week and he’s got a lot of speed. I was concerned he might want to go, but he was relaxed. That was my main concern, but he relaxed, and then he went on.”
Well back early, Ayacara passed several tiring foes late to take second by 2 1/4 lengths over Dark Vader. Another 3 1/2 lengths back, Regulate took fourth ahead of his stablemate, Peace, with Pepe Tono close behind in sixth. The favored Shivermetimbers never played a factor in the race and finished seventh, with Blame the Rider and Inscom rounding out the order of finish.
The Robert B. Lewis is part of the Road to the 2018 Kentucky Derby prep race season. Lombo earned 10 points for the win, with Ayacara receiving 4 for second, Dark Vader 2 for third, and Regulate 1 for fourth.
Lombo’s win was his second straight after breaking his maiden here on January 20. The Michael Pender-trained 3-year-old son of Graydar improved his record to 4-2-0-1 with career earnings of $129,225.
“He’s definitely a high-octane horse,” Pender said. “Apparently, Graydar had some of the same characteristics. He’s just a big kid and got a little ADD to him, but he’s starting to figure it out. When he does really figure it out, I think he’ll be really dangerous.”
Lombo returned $19.40 to win, $10.40 to place, and $7.20 to show. Ayacara brought back $6 to place and $4.40 to show, while Dark Vader paid $13.60 to show.