How to bet the 2019 Robert B. Lewis Stakes

Profile Picture: Dick Powell

January 31st, 2019

The Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) will be run going 1 1/16 miles over the main track at Santa Anita on Saturday. Only six are entered and trainer Bob Baffert has just one starter. The Lewis is part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby and will award 10-4-2-1 points to the respective top four finishers. Kid Cantina (#1) (20-1) broke his maiden second time out on the Tapeta at Golden Gate Fields going a two-turn mile. He is now based in southern California and shows two even sprint efforts on dirt against lesser company. His sire, Richard’s Kid, won the Pacific Classic (G1) twice going 1 1/4 miles and the Cougar II Handicap (G3) twice going 1 1/2 miles, so there is plenty of pedigree to stretch out. Magnificent McCool (#2) (8-1) showed good speed here two starts back going this distance on the dirt before breaking his maiden nine weeks later on the turf in his sixth career start. Even though he’s trained by Doug O’Neill and cost $625,000 as a juvenile, there is nothing that indicates he is ready for this move up the class ladder. Easy Shot (#3) (8-1) finished out of the money in his first two career starts then dropped down to maiden claimers and ran second. Next out, he graduated against $80,000 maiden claimers at Del Mar going 6 1/2 furlongs. Most recently he raced evenly going a two-turn mile here when he had traffic in the stretch of the Sham Stakes (G3). Rafael Bejarano rides back for Keith Desormeaux. The decent priced Calumet Farm silkbearer faces a challenging field. Gunmetal Gray (#4) (9-5) broke his maiden second time out in his two-turn debut then came back and was a good second here in the American Pharoah Stakes (G1) behind recently named champion Game Winner. He raced wide in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) but bounced back in the Sham Stakes (G3) when he rallied from far back to win going away. Mike Smith, who has won with 40 percent of his route mounts the past 13 months, rides back for Jerry Hollendorfer. Mucho Gusto (#5) (8-5) looked good when he broke his maiden by four lengths first time out going six furlongs in good time. He came right back at seven furlongs to win the Bob Hope Stakes (G3) but could not hold off stablemate Improbable last out in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) but was a good second. Since then, he is back on the Bob Baffert training regimen with a series of solid workouts. The son of Mucho Macho Man has plenty of gate speed so Joe Talamo can get him through the first turn without any trouble. Nolo Contesto (#6) (5-2) showed little in his career debut when he was roughed up from post 1 and shuffled back to last going six furlongs. He bounced back last out with a sharp win going a two-turn mile here. He draws outside the others but showed he can pass horses and I would expect Joel Rosario to drop him back and make one, big run. WAGERING STRATEGY Not that Bob Baffert needs any advantages but the Robert Lewis is devoid of early speed except for his Mucho Gusto. He has six-furlong gate speed and Joe Talamo can ease him over to the inside while keeping him as relaxed as possible. Also, a single speed horse means a slow-paced race so Baffert can move another of his three-year-olds further along. Of the closers, Nolo Contesto looks like he will make the first move but it will be too late. Stone Cold Exacta: #5 with #6 PHOTO: Mucho Gusto and jockey Joseph Talamo win the Bob Hope Stakes (G3) on November 17, 2018, at Del Mar © BENOIT PHOTO