January 27, 2023

Ax Man the one to fear in San Vicente

Bob Baffert celebrates with jockey Drayden Van Dyke after winning a race © BENOIT PHOTO

Ax Man blistered rivals when making his career debut on January 1, drawing away to a 9 ½-length decision, and the Bob Baffert pupil will bring high speed to his first stakes attempt in Saturday’s $200,000 San Vicente (G2). Drayden Van Dyke retains the mount on the Misremembered colt and Ax Man is listed as the 6-5 favorite among six 3-year-olds in the 7-furlong race.

One of two in the field for his Hall of Fame trainer, Ax Man rates an extremely promising sprint/middle distance type. The bay colt registered an excellent 101 BRIS Speed rating when leading wire to wire in his lone appearance and was flattered when third-placer Lombo captured the recent Robert B. Lewis (G3).

Nero exits a game maiden tally for Baffert on January 13, scoring by a nose, and the runner-up from that heat came back to post a facile score last weekend. By Pioneerof the Nile, the $950,000 yearling purchase will certainly get the opportunity to stretch out in future engagements and Nero has displayed good tactical speed in both starts. He won’t be too far back in the early stages with Victor Espinzoa.

All Out Blitz has been installed as the 7-2 second choice following a runner-up finish to McKinzie in the January 6 Sham (G3). Conditioned by Simon Callaghan, the son of Concord Point received a 99 BRIS Speed rating for the effort and Tyler Baze will stick with the front-running colt.

Kris’ Rocket Kat was last seen breaking his maiden by a 3 ¼-length margin at Del Mar in late November and the Richard Baltas-trained colt retains the services of Rafael Bejarano. Kanthaka, a last-out maiden scorer for Jerry Hollendorfer, adds Flavien Prat for his first try at the stakes level. Minnesota-bred stakes victor Mr. Jagermeister, who is based at Turf Paradise with Valorie Lund, completes the field.