Stakes race at Santa Anita makes for big sports weekend in California

- As the Carolina Panthers prepare to make history this weekend by claiming the Super Bowl Championship  in Northern California, history's most recent Triple Crown winning Trainer , Bob Baffert, will be defending his title in Southern California on Saturday as last year's winner of the Robert B. Lewis Stakes.

The acclaimed trainer will saddle two colts in this weekend's Robert B. Lewis Grade III with a purse of $150,000.  Let's Meet in Rio (post 1) and Mor Spirit (post 5) will enter the race under the direction of Baffert, with jockey Kent Desormeaux on Let's Meet in Rio and Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens steering Mor Spirit.  The last time out Mor Spirit claimed the $350,000 Los Alamitos Futurity Grade 1 in Cypress, California on December 19th.  Mor Spirit has sparked attention toward being a promising Kentucky Derby contender.  He has significant speed and a beautiful stride; look for him to hold back the pace until the half-mile.

I Will Score (post 2) by Roman Ruler, will stretch out to 1-1/16 miles on Saturday from his last win at 6 furlongs at Santa Anita on January 3rd.  The colt is trained by Jerry Hollendorfer and Mike Smith will be at the controls.

I'll walk out on a limb here with Trainer Kristin Mulhall's colt Path of David (post 6) and jockey Joe Talamo.  This horse enters coming off the turf his last two times out, but he has a great long stride and is solid.  Trainer Mulhall claimed, "if he settles in and is capable of digging into the dirt they should be decently positioned in the stretch with the outside post.  He's more than a one turn horse and Talamo enjoys riding him."

Yesterday Baffert made his way around the Super Bowl media circuit returning to Los Angeles last night for Friday and Saturday's race schedule.  As he heads back to San Francisco for Sunday's Super Bowl Championship game he'll have a better idea of how his Derby stable is progressing, as this is a critical point in the racing season.

Other contenders in Saturday's race are Dressed in Heremes (post 3), Laoban (post 4), and Uncle Lino (post 7).  The Robert B. Lewis Grade III will award 10 Kentucky Derby points to the first place finisher.  Post time is at 2:00pm PST.


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