February 1st is Super Bowl Sunday and much of the country and the world will be preparing for the battle between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks. But, the true racing fans will know that it is also a great day at Santa Anita where the Grade 2 San Vicente will be run.
Texas Red will be making his return to the track after his impressive victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile where he closed from 11 off the pace to win going away. He is back at Santa Anita for his three-year-old campaign and seven others are stepping up to the plate for their shot at Kentucky Derby points and a share of the $200,000 purse.
Race: San Vicente Stakes (G2)
Location: Santa Anita
Distance: 7 Furlongs
Age: 3 Year Olds
Date: Sunday, February 1st 2015
Post Time: 4:30 PM ET, 1:30 Local
TV Coverage: Can be found on TVG (online) and HRTV
|1||2-1||Lord Nelson||Bejarano||The only stakes winner in the field not named Texas Red. Am impressive winner at 5 furlong MSW in July. Rushed into G1 Front Runner where he showed well against American Pharoah, Calculator and Texas Red. Cut back to 6 furlongs and took the Speakeasy Stakes by almost 7 here at SA. But... a completely unexplainable 5th at the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club without excuse.|
|2||3-1||Serbian Syclone||Truijillo||2-for-3 lifetime and winner of last two, both in impressive fashion. He steps up to the stakes ranks for the first time. Crazy speedster will attempt to wire this field.|
|3||15-1||Jazzy Josh||Prat||Supplemented into the race after a decent second to Bench Warrant last out. This one has a bit of pep in his step and can scoot but actually could be one that helps torch the pace for TR. And hey.. If I am not a fan of Bench Warrant here then that tells you my gut on this one.|
|4||8-5||Texas Red||Desormeaux||Unequivocally the top of this field and will be bet to a tiny price. He closed from 11 lengths off the lead in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile to winning going away. Prior form was showing uptick so I would not consider the win a fluke. He will have a pace to run at here but if you are looking for a chink in the armor I offer the following. He has not raced since BC and this race cuts back to 7 furlongs where he might run out of real estate.|
|5||9-2||Punctuate||Garcia||Call it a soft spot but I loved Peppers Pride and Punctuate is from her. He came from the back of the pack to close and win his first out maiden debut going 6 1/2 furlongs. He is son to Distorted Humor, which to me is a great combination. Yes this is stakes company but outside of Texas Red I believe he is the best in the field. Interesting that as TR will be cutting back to close, Punctuate will be going 1/2 longer. Who gets there first?|
|6||50-1||Magic Taste||Santos||Congratulations on running in the 2015 San Vicente Stakes. I hope you enjoy your time. That is all.|
|7||12-1||Bench Warrant||Baze||I just don't think he belongs in this race on this surface. At Los Alamitos he finished fourth out of a whopping five in the G1 Futurity but is coming off a narrow victory here at Santa Anita in an allowance race last out but… that was over the hillside turf course.|
|8||15-1||Sir Samson||Talamo||On the plus side he did break his maiden the last time he was on the track. The downside…this is no MSW and this should probably be chalked up as a learning experience. But hey. Talamo knows how to get the most of his mounts here at SA.|
San Vicente Stakes Breakdown and Betting
Let’s get right to the bottom line up front. This is a soft spot chosen by trainer Keith Desormeaux. He is taking Texas Red on a journey to Kentucky and Derby 141. All things being equal this is a Texas Red’s race to lose. It is true he cutting back in distance but this is a race with only one other stakes horse, Lord Nelson.
An interesting point was even quantified by Keith Desormeaux, Texas Red is not bred to be an early success horse. The fact that he matured, or appeared to mature, earlier than expected bodes well for 2015 and possibly beyond. In my opinion, Texas Red is coming off the best individual performance from any two-year-old in 2014.
Horses like Jazzy Josh and Serbian Syclone should assure a hot and contested pace over the first five or six furlongs of the San Vicente. That will give Texas Red a pace to run at. But with the race at seven furlongs instead of a mile or mile and a sixteenth, there is a chance that he will not have enough real estate to get there from the back of this pack. If he really is as good as the Juvenile there is a chance he wins by seven or greater. Just do not expect any real betting value here.
If Texas Red misfires, or cannot handle the cut back in distance then the door opens for only one other horse in the race. In my opinion that horse only has one career start. That horse is Punctuate. His breeding sits well with me, especially with parents like Distorted Humor and Peppers Pride.
In his only start he did not break well in a six furlong race. I know it was a maiden race but when someone breaks poorly in their first start and has the wherewithal to circle the field while winning with plenty of kick, you have to be impressed. If not this is just not for you. He will be stepping up to stakes competition for the first time but this is not a strong field outside of Texas Red. Lord Nelson did not show well in his stakes start. I give Punctuate a solid shot at the San Vicente and you should as well at a probable 8-1 or higher at post time.
Normally I would give you my best value for a $20 or $50 bet but I do not think it is wise to spend that in this race. If you still want to spend $50 I would suggest doubling up on my second choice. As always if you are struggling to raise a couple of dollars to make a bet, please don’t. Pay a bill, which is more important. Remember, this is supposed to be fun. On to my win picks and betting strategies for the 2015 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita.
|$1 Exacta Box||4 with 5 with 8|
|$1 Trifecta Box||4 with 5 with 8|
|$1 Exacta Box||4 with 5 with 8|
|$ 1 Trifecta||4,5 with 2,4,5,8|
|$3 Win/ Place||5|