Robert B. Lewis Stakes (Santa Anita Park) Predictions, Odds & Picks
If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Hot Rod Charlie (4/1)
Post Position and Odds – Robert B. Lewis Stakes
Check out our predictions and odds for the 2020 Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita Park!
|A Cedillo||B Baffert|
|M Smith||M McCarthy|
|U Rispoli||J Shireffs|
|4||HOT ROD CHARLIE||4/1|
|J Rosario||D O’Neill|
|J J Hernandez||S Callaghan|
|R Gonzalez||J Shireffs|
|7||WIPE THE SLATE||6/1|
|M Gutierrez||D O’Neill|
|F Prat||B Baffert|
Best Bets for the Robert B. Lewis Stakes
Here are my plays ($40 in total)
$10 Exacta Box – Hot Rod Charlie and Medina Spirit = $20
$6 Exacta Box – Hot Rod Charlie and Spielberg = $12
$4 Exacta Box – Hot Rod Charlie and Wipe the Slate = $8
Hot Rod Charlie (4/1)
Always a major force on the Southern California road to the Kentucky Derby, trainer Bob Baffert will send out a strong pair of Medina Spirit and Spielberg in a field of eight set for Saturday’s Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita Park.
Medina Spirit could go off the favorite in the 1 1/16 mile affair which looks to be a wide-open edition of the Lewis. A debut winner at Los Alamitos, the son of Protonico came right back to run a very good closing second to the highly regarded Life is Good last time in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita.
Much more experienced than his stablemate is Spielberg, who landed his first stakes victory when he surged late to a narrow score in the Grade 2 Los Alamitos Futurity on December 19. A $1 million yearling purchase, he has already appeared in four graded stakes races, with a first, second, third, and fourth to show for his efforts.
Of the others, Hot Rod Charlie looks to be the biggest threat to the Baffert pair. A game-winner of a maiden race over Parnelli at Santa Anita back in October, he followed that up with a big effort to be second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile as a 94-1 longshot. He is one of two in the race for trainer Doug O’Neill, who will also send sharp recent maiden winner Wipe the Slate to the post in the Lewis.
The Robert B. Lewis will offer the top four finishers Kentucky Derby qualifying points on a scale of 10-4-2-1.
How to Watch the Robert B. Lewis Stakes
|Robert B. Lewis Stakes Information|
|What||Robert B. Lewis Stakes (Grade 3)|
|Where||Santa Anita Park|
|When||Saturday, January 30 — 6:30 PM EST|
|How to Watch||TVG|
Two races into his career, this Protonico colt seems to be headed towards becoming a solid stakes performer. A sharp debut winner of a fast 5 ½ furlong maiden sprint at Los Alamitos, he showed some real grit last time when he came running at his much-ballyhooed stablemate. Perhaps Life is Good was less than focused late, but this one’s charge demonstrated class, and also left the rest of the field far behind. The Baffert runner has enough speed to go right to the front on Saturday, but he also has proven that he can stalk and finish if need be. He still has questions to answer, but of the last race, he looms the most likely favorite and the one they all have to beat in the Robert B. Lewis.
The expensive son of Union Rags seemed to be sputtering in both mid-stretch of the Los Alamitos Futurity, as well as through his first five career starts. He had the talent to compete with good horses, but he certainly was not a standout that was hoped for. All that might have changed in the last 100 yards of the Grade 2 race, when the Baffert charge found another gear and nailed The Great One on the wire. The performance was since flattered when his beaten rival came back with a spectacular maiden win last weekend. Saturday’s race might be even tougher, but well tested, and seemingly on the improve, this one is a major threat for the win.
Hot Rod Charlie
We are never going to see him at the kind of odds he was let go at in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile ever again. Only a strong late finish by the soon to be champion Essential Quality prevented him from pulling off a shocking upset. In hindsight, you could see the improvement he made with the addition of blinkers when he fought off Parnelli late in a maiden event the race before. Now freshened, I look for the son of Oxbow to validate his performance at Keeneland with another strong effort here. There are plenty of potential winners in the race, but with good tactical speed, and proven class, I have him as the top choice in a wide-open event.
Wipe the Slate
The other O’Neill runner has done little wrong in his first two career starts. He was unable to stay with Life is Good in his debut, but he proved the best of the rest in a tough maiden event. He came back five weeks later, with blinkers added, and easily handled a maiden field at Santa Anita while going 7 furlongs. With good tactical speed, he should be into the race early, and his maiden win was good enough to believe he belongs in graded stakes company. The bump up in distance could be a concern as he looks springy on the female side, but his Kentucky Derby-winning sire Nyquist had no problems getting the distance. He is an interesting alternative to the three favorites.
His only win came in his career debut, and on the grass, but this son of Twirling Candy has proven he can handle the dirt with two good efforts against Grade 1 competition. Last out, he could only manage a fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, but coming from well back in the 14-horse field, it was not a bad performance. Before that, he rallied to be a good second in the Grade 1 American Pharoah, while finishing ahead of Spielberg. He lacks early speed, which could make things tough on Saturday in his seasonal debut, but his consistent late run puts him in with a chance, especially if the leaders are struggling late.
After not being able to keep up with Life is Good in his debut, this son of Empire Maker came right back to win smartly in his second career start. Bred to like a distance, he clearly appreciated the stretch out to 8 ½ furlongs in that victory. Of course, now he is back to facing top horses, so he will likely need another move forward to have a serious shot on Saturday. Given his improvement last time, it is certainly a possibility that he could be of stakes quality. This is a tough spot, but he’s not without hope.
This one lost narrow decisions to two of the main Lewis participants last year. In both his photo finish losses to Spielberg and Hot Rod Charlie, he gave the winner everything he wanted until the final few strides. He finally broke his maiden in style after that, but was not a match for Life is Good and Medina Spirit last time. He merits longshot consideration on his best, but I like others better.
The other entrant for trainer John Shirreffs, he finished a well-beaten fourth in both his stakes tries, including the recent Sham Stakes. The good news as a son of Union Rags and Life is Sweet, he has the potential to improve. That development is still not likely to get him over the hump against this talented field on Saturday, though.
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Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
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