Saturday Showcase Features Favorites Mor Spirit and Songbird
The Saturday showcase at Santa Anita will feature some of the best 3-year olds in the west. Let’s go ladies first on the February 6 card with race 5 in the $300,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (G3) for 3-year old fillies at one mile. SONGBIRD will go off as the heavy favorite. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer with jockey Mike Smith aboard, Eclipse award winner Songbird is undefeated in four starts. She is the class of the field and the clear speed in a field without any one-way speed. JADE PRINCESS could be forwardly placed early, but figures to finish up the track while SHE’S A WARRIOR is one to consider in the exotics with form over the course and working well with speed to contend. STREET FANCY is also training well and broke her maiden at this track. She went well in winning at two turns at the Starlet (G1) last time out. The Road to the Kentucky Oaks awards points (10-4-2-1) to its top four finishers.
Race 4 is the $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) for three year olds at 1 1/16 miles. Bob Baffert trained MOR SPIRIT is the one to beat. “He has a lot of tactical speed but you can’t let him use it too early. “We’re teaching him to sit and wait. He’s a big horse and beautifully made. He’s got a really long stride. He’ll be best going a mile and an eighth and further.”
Mor Spirit makes his first start since his impressive win over stablemate Toews on Ice in the Grade l Los Alamitos Futurity December 19. Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens will be aboard. Mor Spirit finished second behind Airoforce in a live renewal of the Kentucky Jockey Club (GI). LET’S MEET IN RIO is improving and working well and offers an attractive price pick. He was a fast-closing second as the Baffert B in the Sham last out.
I WILL SCORE is perhaps the most attractive of the rest and ranks as the speed of the speed. He has shown the ability to survive a contentious pace, and win even after being headed. I Will Score stretches out for the first time but should have little trouble getting the distance. Both UNCLE LINO and LAOBAN have also shown speed, and should ensure honest early fractions. Laoban remains a maiden and ran third in the Sham.