How to Bet the San Vicente Stakes

Profile Picture: Scott Shapiro

February 8th, 2018

Saturday’s action at Santa Anita Park features three graded stakes events starting in Race 4 with the Grade 2 Santa Maria featuring Unique Bella and concluding in Race 6 with the Grade 2 San Vicente for three-year-olds.

The San Vicente does not reward the top finishers with qualifying points on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” leaderboard, but has been used as a springboard onto bigger and better things by the likes of 1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Silver Charm, as well as 2016 Derby victor Nyquist.

#1 Ax Man is listed as the 6-5-morning line favorite in this year’s rendition of the San Vicente and for good reason. The Hal Earnhardt homebred broke like a shot in his debut on New Year’s Day, battled with Robert B. Lewis winner early and then pranced away to an eye-popping nine and a half length victory.

The son of Misremembered takes on winners for the first time in the San Vicente, but that is the case for all but two of his rivals as well. The rail draw is not ideal for the Bob Baffert trainee, but If jockey Dryden Van Dyke can get him out of the gates like he did on debut it will end up being the shortest distance between two points.

I have no desire in trying to beat Ax Man in the San Vicente. He looks very tough to deny, but if he regresses off of that maiden score last month #4 All Out Blitz appears the colt most likely to take advantage. The son of Concord Point has progressed in each of his first four starts for trainer Simon Callaghan and could give the favorite a run for his money if he improves once again on Saturday.

All Out Blitz broke his maiden two-back when he nosed out good-looking Bob Baffert trainee Restoring Hope in a six-furlong affair. Callaghan moved him right into graded stakes competition for his initial try versus winners where he ran a game second to in the Grade 3 Sham.

The Kaleem Shah homebred cuts back to one turn in the San Vicente and should sit a perfect trip a few lengths off the pacesetter. I am not sure if he is at the level of Ax Man, but he should be able to out finish the rest of this group.

It is not often one sees a Minnesota bred entered in a graded stakes race at Santa Anita Park, but that is the case with #2 Mr. Jagermeister. The son of Atta Boy Roy comes into his first start off the near five-month layoff for trainer Valorie Lund and should be involved early. I am just concerned that he will struggle to get seven-eighths of a mile in this spot.

Unfortunately the 2018 San Vicente looks chalky, so I will keep the quantity of my bets to a minimum and avoid any sort of spreading in both horizontal and vertical wagers.

Suggested Wagers:

Exacta 1-4

Trifecta 1-4-2

Daily Double starting in Race 5, 1-1