May 18, 2024

Cabo Spirit, Messier headline five in Lewis; Eda returns in Las Virgenes

Messier wins the Bob Hope Stakes at Del Mar (photo by Benoit Photo)

Santa Anita will offer qualifiers for the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Oaks (G1) on Sunday’s nine-race program.

Robert B. Lewis (G3) – Race 8 (7 p.m. ET)

Cabo Spirit, who will switch surfaces after a convincing win in the Jan. 2 Eddie Logan S., and Grade 3 scorer Messier are the top draws among five three-year-olds in the $200,000 Robert B. Lewis (G2) at 1 1/16 miles.

From the female family of Hall of Famer Tiznow, Cabo Spirit has won two of his last three on turf. The Pioneerof the Nile colt placed once from three dirt starts earlier in his career, and the dark bay colt will return to the main track in good form for George Papaprodromou. Victor Espinoza rides.

Messier, an easy winner of the seven-furlong Bob Hope (G3) two back, exits a runner-up in his first two-turn attempt, the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) in mid-December. John Velazquez picks up the mount on the $470,000 Empire Maker colt, who will get blinkers off, and Messier is one of two entered for Bob Baffert.

Baffert will also send out Wharton, a 5 1/4-length debut winner going 6 1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita on Jan. 2. Juan Hernandez will take over the reins from Velazquez on the $475,000 Candy Ride colt.

The Lewis will award a total of 17 points (10-4-2-1 scale) as a Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifier, but Baffert-trained runners aren’t eligible to earn points.

Sir London merits respect for Simon Callaghan following a 10-length maiden romp at Los Alamitos in early December. Well-supported in the last two outings, the $700,000 son of Malibu Moon will retain the services of Flavien Prat.

Happy Jack, who rallied to win going away by 1 1/4 lengths when making his initial start at Santa Anita 15 days, will jump to stakes competition and a route for Doug O’Neill. Abel Cedillo guides the late-running Oxbow colt.

Las Virgenes (G2) – Race 3 (4:30 p.m. ET)

Baffert has a pair of top contenders in the $200,000 Las Virgenes (G2), but Eda and Adare Manor won’t be eligible for points in the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series qualifier.

Five fillies are set for the two-turn mile race, and Eda will take some beating following her half-length triumph as the favorite in the Dec. 4 Starlet (G1) at Los Alamitos. A winner of three consecutive stakes, the daughter of Munnings will keep Hernandez in the saddle.

Adare Manor exits a smashing maiden win in her third start, registering a field-best 102 Brisnet Speed rating for the 12-length decision at Santa Anita on Jan. 7, and Velazquez will retain the assignment.

Queen of Thorns, who romped by eight lengths wire-to-wire as an odds-on favorite in her Jan. 2 career debut at Santa Anita, will look to carry her speed two turns for Peter Eurton. Prat will be back up on the Violence filly.

Gracelund Gray, runner-up versus turf allowance rivals in her last start, and maiden Miss Everything complete the field.