Unbeaten Nysos Stretches Out And Heads Grade III, $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes
UNBEATEN NYSOS STRETCHES OUT AND HEADS GRADE III, $200,000 ROBERT B. LEWIS STAKES AS NINE SOPHOMORES GO FLAT MILE
A TOTAL OF 42 KY DERBY QUALIFYING POINTS AT STAKE, WITH 20 AWARDED TO THE WINNER
ARCADIA, CA (Jan. 31, 2024)—Unbeaten by a combined 20 lengths in two starts, Baoma Corp’s Nysos will go two turns for the first time and he looms a standout versus eight rival sophomores going a flat mile in Saturday’s Grade III, $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita.
An important prep to both the Santa Anita and Kentucky Derbies, the Lewis provides a total of 42 Kentucky Derby qualifying points, with 20 to the winner and 10, six, four and two points assigned on down to fifth place.
Although trained by Bob Baffert, Nysos was dismissed at 6-1 in his six furlong maiden debut Oct. 21 and he responded with a rollicking 10 ½ length score under Kyle Frey. In his next assignment, the Grade III Bob Hope Stakes at seven furlongs Nov. 19 at Del Mar, Nysos was the 1-5 choice in a field of four with Flavien Prat up and he responded with an 8 ¾ length win while earning a 97 Beyer Speed Figure—one point better than his maiden romp.
A $550,000 Ocala Breeders 2-year-old in Training Sale purchase last April, Nysos is by 2016 Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist and is out of the Bernardini mare Zetta Z.
One of three Baffert trainees in the race, Nysos will try to provide Baffert, who has won the last five runnings of the Lewis, with his record 12th victory in the race named in honor of the man who along with his wife Beverly, owned Baffert’s first Kentucky Derby winner, Silver Charm, who won the Run for the Roses in 1997.
With Prat back aboard on Saturday, Nysos indeed has the look of a budding superstar.
Phil D’Amato is well represented in the Lewis, as his bay son of Ghostzapper, Stronghold, comes off a solid second to Baffert’s Wynstock in the Grade II Los Alamitos Futurity at a mile and one sixteenth Dec. 16 and he was second to Nysos two starts back in the Grade III Bob Hope.
With a one mile maiden win three starts back at Churchill Downs to his credit, Stronghold is well-seasoned with a win and three seconds from four starts. Owned and bred in Kentucky by Eric and Sharon Waller, Stronghold is out of the Jimmy Creed mare Spectator.
With Antonio Fresu set to ride him back, Stronghold, who posted an 85 Beyer in the Los Al Futurity, will likely be in a stalking position early in what will be his second consecutive two-turn assignment.
A disappointing third as the 4-5 favorite in the Los Alamitos Futurity, Baffert’s Coach Prime checked in third, one length behind stablemate Wynstock and a half length behind Stronghold.
Ridden by Prat in his last two starts, including a 7 ¼ length one mile maiden win two starts back on Nov. 10 at Del Mar, Coach Prime will get the first time services of Frankie Dettori on Saturday and with plenty of speed signed on, he’ll hope to be rolling late.
Owned by Zedan Racing, Inc., Coach Prime, a bay colt by Quality Road out of the Street Sense mare Act Now, sold for $1.7 million as a Keeneland September Yearling.
Although third as the odds-on choice at Los Alamitos, Coach Prime earned a very respectable 84 Beyer and rates a big chance on Saturday in what will be his fourth career start.
Trained by John Shirreffs, C R K Stable’s Mc Vay is a talented maiden colt stretching out for the first time in what will be his third start. Sold for $1,250,000 as a yearling, Mc Vay was beaten 12 ½ lengths in his six furlong debut Sept. 2 at Del Mar but bounced back with a much improved second place finish versus seven rival maidens going 6 ½ furlongs here on Jan. 20, a race in which he posted a 78 Beyer while beaten by 7 ½ lengths.
By Constitution out of the Union Rags mare Dothraki Sea, Mc Vay will be ridden for the first time by Umberto Rispoli and looms dangerous as a horse on the improve.
Trainer Gary Mandella’s Better Than Gold is yet another lightly raced colt that appears on the improve. Beaten 15 ½ lengths by Nysos in his six furlong debut here on Oct. 21, Better Than Gold bounced back with an impressive come from behind maiden score on Dec. 2 at Del Mar. Off at 9-1 with Mike Smith up, Better Than Gold was 8 ½ lengths off the lead at the half mile pole and finished with a rush to win by a neck while earning a 78 Beyer.
Owned by Columbine Stable, LLC, Better Than Gold, who is by Nyquist out of the Afleet Alex mare Sweet Tess, has a closing kick that could prove impactful on Saturday.
THE ROBERT B. LEWIS WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 5 of 10 Approximate post time 2:15 p.m. PT
1. Wine Me Up - Juan Hernandez - 120
Ace of Clubs - Edwin Maldonado - 120
Better Than Gold - Mike Smith - 120
Moonlit Sonata - Geovanni Franco - 120
Coach Prime - Lanfranco Dettori - 120
Nysos - Flavien Prat - 120
Stronghold - Antonio Fresu - 120
8. Mc Vay - Umberto Rispoli - 120
- Scatify - Hector Berrios - 120