RUN AT 1 1/16 MILES, SAN FELIPE TO AWARD 50 KENTUCKY DERBY QUALIFYING POINTS TO WINNER
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 4, 2015)–Undefeated Dortmund, fresh off an improbable triumph in his most recent start, heads a field of 10 Derby hopefuls in Saturday’s Grade II, 1 1/16 miles San Felipe Stakes, an important steppingstone to the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 4.
A winner of four consecutive races, the Bob Baffert-trained Dortmund appeared beaten with a furlong to run in the Grade III, 1 1/16 miles Robert B. Lewis Stakes on Feb. 7, but to the astonishment of thousands, he re-rallied at the rail under Martin Garcia and overcame a one length disadvantage to win going away by a head over talented Firing Line, who was ridden by Gary Stevens.
Although improbable, the Lewis tally was consistent with his ultra-game win in the Grade I, 1 1/16 miles Los Alamitos Futurity Dec. 20, wherein he prevailed by a head in a three horse photo. A dazzling 4 ¾ length first-out maiden winner Nov. 2 going 6 ½ furlongs, he shipped to Churchill Downs for his second start on Nov. 29 and aired by 7 ¾ lengths in a one mile allowance test.
Owned by Kaleem Shah, Inc., Dortmund, a strapping chestnut colt by 2008 Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown, has earnings of $449,400, and he already has 20 Kentucky Derby qualifying points. With a win in the San Felipe, he would pick another up 50 qualifying points, which would virtually assure him a berth in the Run for the Roses May 2.
Trainer Jim Cassidy’s undefeated Ocho Ocho Ocho enters the San Felipe off a game nose win in the Grade III, 1 1/16 miles Delta Downs Jackpot on Nov. 22 and will face much tougher competition while retaining the highly coveted services of Mike Smith. Owned by DP Racing, LLC, the Kentucky-bred colt by Street Sense is perfect in three starts and has a pair of bullet six furlong works on his Santa Anita work tab. A $200,000 2-year-old in training sale purchase last April, he’s banked $693,600.
An eye-catching 5 ¼ length allowance winner going one mile on Jan. 30, the Clifford Sise-conditioned Prospect Park held veteran race watchers spellbound by the ease in which he accomplished the win. A Kentucky-bred colt by Tapit, Prospect Park is owned by his breeders, Pam and Martin Wygod and he appears more than ready to try stakes company for the first time. Although he’s been based at San Louis Rey Downs, his most recent work, a five furlong move in 1:00.80, was executed at Santa Anita last Friday.
Bob Baffert, who along with the late Charlie Whittingham, has won a record four San Felipe’s, will be represented by Lord Nelson, who won the Grade II, seven furlong San Vicente Stakes by a neck over Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red on Feb. 1. Well beaten following a troubled start as the 7-5 favorite two starts back in the Grade II, 1 1/16 miles Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes Nov. 29 at Churchill Downs, the chestnut colt by Pulpit is winless in two starts at the distance. Owned by Peachtree Stable, he has three wins from five starts and earnings of $249,571.
Trainer Brian Koriner’s Sir Samson, who was third, beaten a length by Lord Nelson in the seven furlong San Vicente, will try two turns for the first time in the San Felipe, which will be his fourth career start. Owned and bred in Kentucky by Legacy Ranch and Team MacPherson, the chestnut colt by Smart Strike is very quick from the gate and could well be on the early lead Saturday. He has one win and a third place finish from three starts and will be ridden back by Joe Talamo.
Although he’s never run on dirt, trainer Carla Gaines’ Bolo was very impressive in winning the one mile turf Eddie Logan Stakes by 4 ½ lengths on Dec. 27 and has an abundance of natural speed. A 2 ¾ length one mile turf maiden winner two starts back on Nov. 29 at Del Mar, Bolo will be ridden for the first time by Victor Espinoza on Saturday. Owned by Golden Pegasus Racing, Inc., and Earle Mack, the Kentucky-bred colt by Temple City will be making his fourth start.
The complete field for the Grade II San Felipe, to be run as the seventh race on an 11-race program Saturday, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Lord Nelson, Rafael Bejarano, 118; Ocho Ocho Ocho, Mike Smith, 120; Dortmund, Martin Garcia, 123; The Gomper, Tyler Baze, 118; Kenjisstorm, Agapito Delgadillo, 118; Prospect Park, Kent Desormeaux, 118; Bolo, Victor Espinoza, 118; Pulmarack, Drayden Van Dyke, 118; Sir Samson, Joe Talamo, 118, and Pain and Misery, Flavien Prat, 118.
With 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points awarded to the winner, the second, third and fourth place San Felipe finishers will receive 20, 10 and five points, respectively. First post time on Saturday, Santa Anita Handicap Day, is at 12 noon. Admission gates will open at 10 a.m.