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ARCADIA, CA – Albaugh Family Stables and Spendthrift Farm’s Thousand Words fought hard in the stretch to come out victorious and give trainer Bob Baffert his 3,000th thoroughbred victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park.
Breaking from post 2 under Flavien Prat as the 3/5 favorite, Thousand Words settled into stride and sat off the early pace as the field entered the clubhouse turn. Up front, his stablemate High Velocity outkicked Tizamagician to secure command.
The field of six was tightly-bunched as High Velocity posted early fractions of :23.65, :47.20, and 1:11.44. Tizamagician tracked closely from his right hip while Royal Act and Thousand Words followed just behind.
Heading into the far turn, Royal Act ranged up to run three-wide alongside the pacesetters, but Prat kept Thousand Words tucked inside, awaiting running room. At the top of the stretch, Prat angled Thousand Words into a tight hole between High Velocity and Tizamagician, bouncing twice with the latter foe.
Undeterred by the light contact, Thousand Words was set down for the stretch drive and began reeling in High Velocity, but Royal Act and Tizamagician refused to let him off the hook. Collaring his stablemate at the 1/16 pole, Thousand Words inched ahead under a drive before crossing victorious.
Crossing 3/4 of a length the best at the wire, Thousand Words completed the 1 1/16-mile event over the fast main track in a final time of 1:43.64.
“He ran very well,” Prat said. “He put me in a good spot and he was comfortable down there. He took the dirt (in his face) well, and when I asked him to run, he really accelerated.”
Royal Act fought hard in the middle of the track to take second by a neck over High Velocity, while Tizamagician ran well to finish just 3/4 of a length behind in fourth. Encoder‘s dirt debut did not go as planned, as the Eddie Logan Stakes (G2) winner never looked comfortable before finishing fifth. Zimba Warrior completed the order of finish.
The Robert B. Lewis is part of the Road to the 2020 Kentucky Derby prep race season. Thousand Words earned 10 points for the win, with Royal Act receiving 4 for second, High Velocity 2 for third, and Tizamagician 1 for fourth.
Thousand Words’ win was his third in as many career starts, having broken his maiden here on October 26 before gamely winning the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) on December 7. The 3-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile, purchased for $1 million as a yearling, has now earned $211,000.
“I’ve always thought things happen for a reason,” Baffert said. “Running in the Bob Lewis, with a horse named Thousand Words, and going for 3,000 wins? I mean, you can’t make that up. I had a feeling it was gonna happen in this race.”
Thousand Words returned $3.20 to win, $2.60 to place, and $2.10 to show. Royal Act brought back $8.60 to place and $4.40 to show, while High Velocity paid $2.40 to show.
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