The San Vicente: No Derby Points Awarded, an abundance of Derby Points Made

The Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita Park might not be a Kentucky Derby prep within the sense that is strictest of the term. There are no Derby qualifying points on the table and the winner gets no closer to a gate date at Churchill Downs the first Saturday of May.

Freedom FIghter-SV Prev
Freedom Fighter comes to the Grade 2 San Vicente off a layoff that is five-month. “The Other Baffert” into the industry is a 5/2 favorite that is second what is a small, but strong field for Saturday’s race at Santa Anita. (Image: Benoit Photo)

That said, disabuse yourself of the notion any of the five contenders in the San that is seven-furlong Vicente make it from right here. First, the San Vicente is a prep that is key the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby in early April.

Second, Yes, there are only five horses, but the San Vicente offers perhaps the field that is best of any 3-year-old competition on the weekend. That features the two “official” Derby preps: the Withers at Aqueduct plus the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs.

And finally, consider the winner’s roll. All you’ve got to complete is look right back 5 years, whenever Nyquist won the 2016 San Vicente in February. He had been roses that are wearing May.

San Vicente Provided Baffert His Breakout Horse

Go back 19 years from that and you find Silver Charm in the San Vicente winner’s circle. Three months later, Bob Baffert’s San that is first Vicente became initial of their six Kentucky Derby champions. Also year’s that is last, Nadal, was one of the front-line Derby favorites before a career-ending injury knocked him off the Derby trail.

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Naturally, Baffert finds his way into this plot. Why wouldn’t he? Nadal was the Hall of Fame trainer’s 10(* that are*)th( San Vicente champion. In a race dating to 1935 – Santa Anita’s season that is first Baffert’s 10 titles dwarf any other trainers.And naturally, Baffert’s Santa that is endless Anita cranks out two more San Vicente contenders. While Sham Stakes winner Life is great and Robert B. Lewis champion Medina Spirit calm down awaiting future gigs, Baffert delivers out 8/5 Concert that is favorite Tour 5/2 Freedom Fighter.

Concert Tour’s Next Stop: The San Vicente

When we last saw Concert Tour, he frolicked and romped to a 3 ½-length success once the even-money favorite in a maiden race Jan. 15. This, of course, vaulted Concert Tour to stardom regarding the Kentucky Derby futures panels, because, well, Baffert. Concert Tour is 11/1 at Circa Sports, 10/1 at William Hill Nevada. Those are microscopic chances for a horse making their start that is second and graded stakes start, another testament to the Baffert Effect on Derby prospects.

But the nature of that victory indicated Concert Tour wants more distance than these seven furlongs. Joel Rosario, who gets the ride Saturday, had Concert Tour in hand over the final sixteenth.

Baffert is a believer in using the San Vicente as a post that is stretching of. Turn them loose over seven furlongs to see just how their rate handles that distance – the most problematic for horses to navigate due to its hybrid nature. it is comparable to the 400 meters in track: a race that needs a sprinter’s rate and a distance runner’s stamina.

Seven Furlongs is Territory that is uncharted for Field

In terms of distance, the scale is level. All five horses in the field haven’t gone beyond 6 ½ furlongs. Concert Tour’s victory came at six furlongs. Freedom Fighter’s one and only race came five months ago, when he won a sprint that is five-furlong Del Mar by a head once the 1/2 favorite.

Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes/Santa Anita Park

Morning Line (Jockey/Trainer)

Freedom Fighter, 5/2 (Drayden Van Dyke/Bob Baffert)

  1. The Chosen Vron, 5/2 (Mike Smith/Eric Kruljac)
  2. Uncle Boogie, 12/1 (Abel Cedillo/Andrew Lerner)
  3. Found My Ball, 3/1 (Mario Gutierrez/Doug O’Neill)
  4. Concert Tour, 8/5 (Joel Rosario/Bob Baffert)
  5. “Going seven-eighths is a hardcore distance, but he’s quick and he’s had good works,” Baffert told Santa Anita’s Ed Golden. “He broke their maiden first away and then we’d to back away him, but he’s doing well.”

So well, that the son of Violence rolled away three bullet exercises. The newest of the being a 59.6-second dash that is five-furlong. 28 that was the fastest of 70 horses at that distance that day.

Two Cal-Breds Find Themselves In the end that is deep*)Somehow, two other San Vicente contenders aren’t Baffert fees. Found My Ball (3/1) arises from Doug O’Neill’s barn, the barn that is same produced Nyquist. The Square that is california-bred Eddie had a ball in their Jan. 22 maiden success, blowing away the industry by six lengths.

The other is another Cal-bred getting into the end that is deep of pool: The Chosen Vron (5/2). This gelding hammered his rivals that are cal-bred 6 ¾ lengths over 6 1/2 furlongs Dec. 27. The son of Vronsky, The preferred Vron had been designed to run into the Jan. 16 1 Cal that is 1/16-mile Cup, but trainer Eric Kruljac scratched him because of a cough. With him running well, Kruljac and his partners deposited The Chosen Vron into the San Vicente.

The pick:

Freedom Fighter. Concert Tour winning this surprises nobody, especially from his outside post. But along with the Baffert that is“Other play, call this 1 a hunch. There’s a good reason Freedom Fighter is in this competition and their powerhouse ownership team: SF Racing, LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, LLC, Golconda Stables, Siena Farm, LLC and Robert Masterson likely expects results right here. Even Baffert responses to stakeholders, which is why he operates their horses where he does.

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