March 7th 2018 – Updated March 10th 2018
Coming up this Saturday at Santa Anita Park is a highly anticipated showdown of the top two Kentucky Derby contenders in Bolt d’Oro and McKinzie in the San Felipe Stakes. In my opinion, this is the biggest race for this Derby class since the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
Below are the entries, post-positions, weights, jockey assignments and morning line odds. Calexman has been scratched.
The San Felipe Stakes – 1 1/16th Mile – Race #6 at Santa Anita Park – Post-Time: Saturday March 10th at 4:53 PM CST. Televised by TVG
1. Bolt d’Oro (124) – Castellano/Ruis – 2/1
2. Lombo (122) – Bejarano/Pender – 8/1
3. Ayacara (120) – Desormeaux/Desormeaux – 8/1
4. McKinzie (122) – Smith/Baffert – 8/5
5. Aquila (120) – Pedroza/Callaghan – 15/1
6. Calexman (122) – Quinonez/Cerin – 30/1 SCRATCHED
7. Peace (120) – Van Dyke/Mandella – 15/1
8. Kanthaka (120) – Prat/Hollendorfer – 4/1
Race Commentary: A very top-heavy field as far as talent. Although I think Bolt d’Oro has the most promise of any Kentucky Derby contender, he is coming off a 126 day layoff so I like Bob Baffert’s McKinzie here for the win. McKinzie is further along in his training at present, having raced January 6th in the Sham Stakes. There is little doubt in my mind that if Bolt d’Oro actually wins this race, he will be the undisputed Kentucky Derby favorite entering the last prep races before the Derby.
Are there any other colts in this field that could spring a big upset? I don’t think so. The rest of the field will be jockeying for 2nd or 3rd. If I had to choose one horse that could surprise, I’d pick Kaleem Shah’s son of Union Rags–Aquila. Trained by Simon Callaghan, Aquila was victorious in his last start in a maiden special weight race at Santa Anita Park at this same 1 1/16th mile distance. However, another horse to keep an eye on is the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained Kanthaka. Kanthaka posted a 99 Beyer Speed Figure in his last start in the 7 furlong San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita Park back on February 10th. He will be stepping up in distance for the first time, having never raced beyond 7 furlongs.
With the scratch of Calexman, this is not a good race for Superfecta wagers. Overall, I feel that this is a “Can’t miss” race and one that could be the start of a much needed new rivalry.