A field of seven Derby hopefuls entered for Saturday’s Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes at 1-1/16 miles at Santa Anita, including the west coast’s leading Derby candidate, Pioneer of the Nile.
The San Felipe is considered the final steppingstone to the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby on April 4. The race is named for Valle de San Felipe Rancho, an 1846 land grant made to Felipe Castillo and located in San Diego County.
In its 71-year history, ten San Felipe winners have gone on to take the Santa Anita Derby: Your Host (1950), Determine (1954), Hill Rise (1964), Terlago (1970), Solar Salute (1972), Affirmed (1978), Sunday Silence (1989), Free House (1997), Point Given (2001), and Buddy Gil (2003). Determine, Affirmed, and Sunday Silence also went on to capture the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May.
Pioneer of the Nile will be seeking his third graded stakes win for trainer Bob Baffert and owner Zayat Stable. Already under his belt are victories in the CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park and Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita. His regular jockey, Garrett Gomez, has the mount.
Here’s the entire field as listed on the overnight; however, it appears there will likely be some scratches, including that He's Really Big, New Bay, Feisty Suances and Kelly Leak.
The 72nd Running of the San Felipe Stakes (Grade II) $200,000 Guaranteed - One Mile And One Sixteenth Three-Year-Olds
PP Horse Age Sex Wt Jockey Trainer
1 HE'S REALLY BIG 06 C 115 Gryder, A Becerra, Rafael
2 PIONEEROF THE NILE 06 C 122 Gomez, G Baffert, Bob
3 FEISTY SUANCES 06 C 115 Flores, D Vienna, Darrell
4 SHAFTED 06 C 115 Rosario, J Casse, Mark
5 JERANIMO 06 C 115 Blanc, B Pender, Michael
6 KELLY LEAK 06 C 115 Espinoza, V Machowsky, Michael
7 NEW BAY 06 C 115 Talamo, J Mandella, Richard