With no clear cut standout, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer’s Sheer Flattery heads a field of five Santa Anita Derby hopefuls in Saturday’s Grade III, $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes, to be contested at 1 1/16 miles.
Fresh off a nose maiden special weight win going the Lewis distance over a sloppy track here on Dec. 31, Sheer Flattery will have to contend with Reddam Racing’s Irap, who pressed the pace as the 9-5 favorite and tired to finish fourth behind the top selection on Dec. 31, Dangerfield, who was a well beaten third behind top tier Derby candidate Mastery in the Grade I Los Alamitos Futurity Dec. 10, and Royal Mo, who’s been freshened since breaking his maiden going a mile in gate to wire fashion on Nov. 27 at Del Mar.
#1 Royal Mo – I’ll take a shot with Royal Mo simply because I think he has a nice shot to move forward off of his recent maiden special weight win at Del Mar. Trainer John Shirreffs is very high on this horse, and really with any improvement at all he can win this race. The breeding is very solid with Royal Mo as there is no hotter sire than Uncle Mo. I’m not in love with this horse in any way, shape, or form, but in a race like this I think he’s worth a shot.
Horses to Use in Multi Race Wagers
#2 Irap – This horse is still a maiden, yet he has the best resume in the race. Incredibly, two races back he ran second to Mastery in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity at 23-1. He was still beaten by over seven lengths though in that race so it’s not like he gave a huge effort. However, he does have the highest speed figure in the field so he has that going for him. In this awful field he has as good of a chance as any of them.
#5 Sheer Flattery – Comes into this race off a win in a maiden special weight last time out at Santa Anita while running the same distance as this race today. Amazingly this is probably your Robert B. Lewis favorite…its almost hard to believe. Sheer Flattery could turn out to be a horse that is developing though, and may be ready to run his best number yet. He’s a must use on your multi race tickets.
#3 Dangerfield – Has been able to hang around with some decent horses so far, but has not been close to actually beating them. Ran third to both Gunnevera and Mastery who are solid, but was beaten 9 and 13 lengths by those horses. Of course this spot is much easier, but I still think hitting the board is about as good as he can hope for in this race.
NONE – They all are equally as bad so no horses here can be known as a “Party Crasher.” This has to go down as one of the worst Kentucky Derby prep races of all time.
#4 Term of Art – Was fifth beaten seventeen lengths in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes last time out. Today the field is easier by a mile, but I’m still not confident he can win as he looks to be the worst of his stablemates.