2018 Robert B. Lewis Stakes Preview and Picks
While bona fide three year-old California-based stars McKinzie, Bolt d’Oro and Solomini won’t suit up for this race, it provides the perfect opportunity for the up-and-comers to announce their presence on the Derby trail. The field of nine is without a true standout with 3/1 morning line favorite, Peace, having just broke his maiden. Here’s the rest of the group:
- Ayacara 8/1
- Pepe Tono 6/1
- Dark Vader 10/1
- Lombo 5/1
- Shivermetimbers 7/2
- Inscom 6/1
- Peace 3/1
- Regulate 8/1
- Blame the Rider 15/1
A Closer Look
While it would be tough to take a short price on any horse in this field, Shivermetimbers has at least been consistently faster than most of these rivals. In four starts, the Jerry Hollendorfer trainee has recorded Beyer Speed Figures of 83,87,89 and 84 despite owning just a maiden win to his credit. Shivermetimbers also defeated Peace by a neck on Nov 23 at Del Mar.
As for Peace, this Ricard Mandella trainee will add blinkers (18% move for Mandella) following his maiden-breaking score at this track Dec 30. Notably, Peace regressed in that race, earning a Beyer of just 76 after posting an 88 in the close loss to Shivermetimbers. There are plenty of reasons to take a cautious approach to this runner whom I doubt will be favored at post time.
Ayacara and Pepe Tono are both late-running types who have some intrigue in this spot. Ayacara switches from turf to dirt and adds blinkers for trainer Keith Desormeaux with brother Kent in the irons. The Desormeaux brothers have won at a 27% clip when teaming up at Santa Anita over the last two years. Ayacara last ran on dirt Sept 30, finishing fourth in the Grade 1 FrontRunner while posting a career-best 81 Beyer Speed Figure.
Pepe Tono closed from 13 lengths off the pace to break his maiden at Santa Anita Jan 19 while racing a mile. The extra sixteenth here could help and this guy recorded a very nice five furlong drill in preparation for this race Jan 29. The hotter the early pace, the better for this colt.
As noted writer and horse player Damon Runyon once said, “the race doesn’t always go to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that is the way to bet.” Shivermetimbers has run faster than these horses and with more consistency, and that makes him the pick – albeit a tepid one in this spot. That said I’ll cover a few more numbers in multirace exotics and the exacta.
- 1st: Shivermetimbers
- 2nd: Pepe Tono
- 3rd: Ayacara
- 4th: Peach
- Use numbers 1,2 and 5 in pick 3/pick 4 wagers.
- Exacta: 5/1,2 and 1,2/5.
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