Very game when edging Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) runner-up Anneau d’Or by a neck after a prolonged stretch duel in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) in December, Thousand Words will be favored to follow up with a victory in the $100,000 Robert B. Lewis (G3) at Santa Anita on Saturday.
The 1 1/16-mile Lewis is one of three Road to the Kentucky Derby preps on Saturday, and like the Withers (G3) and Holy Bull (G3), will disperse Derby qualifying points of 10-4-2-1 to the top four finishers.
Thousand Words already has 10 points courtesy of the Futurity win, and the $1 million yearling purchase by Pioneerof the Nile will again be asked to wear down front-running stablemate High Velocity, who set the pace before weakening to third over the wet Los Al surface, one race after securing a victory in the Bob Hope (G3) at Del Mar.
Both Encoder and Royal Act try dirt for the first time after running first and fifth, respectively, in the Dec. 29 Eddie Logan S. The former is by English Channel, but the latter is a son of American Pharoah, thus might transfer his form more easily to the main track while racing with blinkers for the first time.
Tizamagician resembles the recently retired Omaha Beach in that it took awhile for the Richard Mandella-trained son of Tiznow to break his maiden, which the colt did so on New Year’s Day in his sixth career start over a mile. The small field is rounded out by Zimba Warrior a distant third in both the Sham (G3) and Bob Hope in his last two.