Staying on the derby trail this week, we head west to Santa Anita for the G3 Robert B. Lewis. A compact field of six 3yr olds will travel 1-1/16 miles over Santa Anita’s dirt course looking for their share of the $150,000 purse and a handful of derby points. The Kentucky Derby points will be distributed 10-4-2-1 to the top 4 finishers. This race is the first step towards the Santa Anita Derby.
Our last race of 2018 has spring boarded us on a 3 race win streak on Pokerfuse.com, so let’s try to make it a 4-bagger with another win this Saturday.
With a short field of 6 youngsters, it is no surprise that there is not much pace to depend on. Mucho Gusto, winner of the G3 Bob Hope, looks like the only colt that wants the lead and has the early speed figures to back it up. Mucho Gusto is one of those highly regarded Bob Baffert horses that will take plenty of action at the windows. He may be joined from the outside by John Sadler trainee, Nolo Contesto. Nolo Contesto just broke his maiden by battling on the front end while wide for a full mile to prevail by half a length.
Sitting behind this duo will be the three inside colts with Kid Cantina from the rail, followed by Magnificent McCool, and Easy shot. Kid Cantina has not shown the speed figures to keep up with this crew, while Magnificent McCool just broke his maiden on Santa Anita’s turf, and Easy Shot.
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Rounding out the field from the back of the pack will be Jerry Hollendorfer’s Gunmetal Gray. Gunmetal Gray’s brief career has had him chasing some nice colts, like Bob Baffert’s Game Winner, so he is the most battle tested colt in the field. In the G3 Sham, jockey Mike Smith sat chilly on Gunmetal Gray while a speed duel developed up front and he was able to sweep by for the win. While it was a nice win, I don’t think those tactics will work this week.
The horse I landed on is Nolo Contesto. When handicapping these freshly minted 3yr olds I am always looking for a reason to believe they will improve, and Nolo Contesto passes the eye test. In his first career race, jockey Joel Rosario lost the irons early and he never had a chance. At second asking, in another maiden special event, he was hung wide on the turn and he still grinded out a victory. The battling duo in this race finished 8 lengths ahead of the rest of the field, and Nolo Contesto tripped the wire at 1:372. By comparison, Gunmetal Gray ran the same mile the next day in 1:384.
Let’s take Nolo Contesto for the win and hope for a price.