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ARCADIA, CA – Zedan Racing Stables’ Medina Spirit refused to wilt despite being challenged the length of the stretch in Saturday’s $100,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park.
Keen to be on the lead as soon as he burst from his rail-draw n post, Medina Spirit carried jockey Abel Cedillo forward and to the front as the field entered the clubhouse turn.
Parnelli and Wipe the Slate tracked closely as the even-money favorite Medina Spirit posted opening fractions of :22.89, :46.61, and 1:12.36.
Roman Centurian rallied hard off the far turn and joined Hot Rod Charlie in the chase for the lead at the top of the stretch, but Medina Spirit battled back gamely along the rail.
The trio fought noses apart the length of the stretch, but it was ultimately Medina Spirit whose neck crossed the wire first. The Bob Baffert trainee completed the 1 1/16-mile fast dirt route in 1:46.26.
“He’s a very game horse,” Cedillo said. “At the 1/4 pole, I didn’t know, but he looked around and when he saw those horses, he kept going. He didn’t get tired at all. On the gallop out, he was by himself.”
Roman Centurian edged Hot Rod Charlie for second by a nose, but it was a whopping 11 lengths back to the winner’s stablemate Spielberg in fourth.
Parnelli and Wipe the Slate completed the order of finish.
Rombauer and Waspirant were scratched from the race restricted to 3-year-olds.
The Robert B. Lewis is part of the Road to the 2021 Kentucky Derby prep race season. Medina Spirit earned 10 points for the win, with Roman Centurian receiving 4 for second, Hot Rod Charlie 2 for third, and Spielberg 1 for fourth.
Medina Spirit’s win was his first first at the stakes level following a runner-up finish in the Sham Stakes (G3) and improved his overall record to 3-2-1-0. The Florida-bred Protonico colt, purchased for $35,000 as a yearling, has now earned $105,200.
“We just have to keep him healthy,” Baffert said after winning his record ninth edition of the race. “It’s a really tiring track, he went real fast early, but he showed that he had the qualities there. It’s nice to win the Robert B. Lewis because it means so much to me. I would have liked my other horse to run better than he did, but those things happen.”
Medina Spirit returned $4 to win, $2.80 to place, and $2.20 to show. Roman Centurian brought back $7.60 to place and $3.80 to show, while Hot Rod Charlie paid $2.60 to show.
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