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San Felipe Stakes 2024 | Santa Anita Park Picks [Kentucky Derby]
Nysos (Lindsay Affleck)

San Felipe Stakes 2024 | Santa Anita Park Picks [Kentucky Derby]

Aaron previews the 2024 San Felipe Stakes (G2) from Santa Anita Park, then gives his top picks from this Kentucky Derby (G1) prep race.

This joke of a Grade 2 Derby prep only drew a 5-horse field that includes 3 from trainer Bob Baffert, making it highly unlikely that any meaningful points will actually be awarded.

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The press release:

Considered by many to be America’s most talented three-year-old, Bob Baffert’s undefeated Nysos heads a field of five going a mile and one sixteenth in Sunday’s Grade II, $300,000 DK Horse San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita.

First post time for a 10-race card that will also include the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap, Grade I Kilroe Mile and the Grade II Buena Vista Stakes on Sunday is at 12:30 p.m.

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With Nysos and all other Baffert trainees ineligible to run in this year’s Kentucky Derby, Nysos will likely eye the Grade I Preakness Stakes next on May 18 with a stop in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby on April 6 a possibility as well.

A 10 ½ length first-out maiden winner going six furlongs here on Oct. 21, Nysos came back to take Del Mar’s Grade III Bob Hope at seven panels by 8 ¾ lengths Nov. 19.

Off at 1-10 versus six rivals going a flat mile in the Grade III Robert B. Lewis Feb. 3, Nysos rated kindly in his first two-turn assignment and destroyed the competition, winning by 7 ½ lengths and earning a tremendous 105 Beyer Speed Figure.

One of three Baffert entrants, Nysos, who is by 2016 Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist out of the Bernardini mare Zetta Z, has won his three starts by a combined 26 ¾ lengths and will be ridden for the third consecutive time by Flavien Prat.

A $550,000 Ocala Sales 2-year-old in Training Sale purchase in April, 2023, Nysos is owned by Baoma Corp and will attempt to give Baffert his record ninth score in one of America’s most important Derby preps.

Second by 7 ½ lengths to Nysos in the Lewis, Baffert’s Wine Me Up will likely be the second choice in the San Felipe wagering.

Owned by longtime clients Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, Wine Me Up, a first-out maiden winner at six furlongs Sept. 2, was subsequently second behind talented stablemate Muth in the Grade I American Pharoah Stakes at 1 1/16 miles here on Oct. 7.

Well beaten at 22-1 in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Nov. 3, he was then fourth at 9-5 in the Grade II Los Alamitos Futurity two starts back on Dec. 16.

With Juan Hernandez up for the third consecutive time on Sunday, Wine Me Up, a $300,000 Ocala Sales 2-year-old, has good natural speed and with a career-best 92 Beyer in-hand from his second place run in the Lewis, will hope to turn the tables in what will be his fifth consecutive two turn assignment.

A one mile gate to wire maiden winner in his third start on Jan. 1, Baffert’s Imagination, a hard-fought second at the same distance in a first condition allowance Feb. 11, has three seconds and the maiden win from four starts and could likely be on the early lead Sunday as Frankie Dettori tries his hand for the first time.

A $1,050,000 Keeneland September Yearling, Imagination is by Into Mischief out of the Empire Maker mare Magical Feeling.  Owned by SF Racing, LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Racing, LLC, et al, Imagination earned an 89 Beyer in his most recent start and appears on the improve.


Race 6 of 10 | Approximate post time 3 p.m. PT

  1. Scatify – Hector Berrios – 120
  2. Wine Me Up – Juan Hernandez – 120
  3. Nysos – Flavien Prat – 122
  4. Mc Vay – Antonio Fresu – 120
  5. Imagination – Lanfranco Dettori – 120