The Kentucky Derby 2012 trail heats up in Southern California on Saturday with the G2 Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita Park and morning line favorite Liaison seeks his fourth straight win for Bob Baffert.
#2 Liaison (9-5) landed the show in his flat mile bow and Del Mar and it has been all smiles ever since. He graduated in a seven panel event at Santa Anita Park, and proceeded to win back-t0-back stakes races in the Real Quiet and G1 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park. The hard knocking Baffert trainee owns fine tactical speed and is training well for this. This is a starting point to his sophomore campaign and he is already sitting pretty on the graded earnings list so he does not have to win this at low odds.
Liaison’s stablemate #5 Sky Kingdom (6-1) was my top choice in the aforementioned CashCall Futurity and he was hardly disgraced in a 4th place finish. He exits a facile allowance route win at the Great Race Place and appears poised to make a splash in the graded ranks.
#6 Rousing Sermon (5-2) finished 2nd to Liaison in the Real Quiet and CashCall in his last pair. He won the CalCup Juvenile at Santa Anita and will be finishing under Talamo. He needs a fair racetrack and some pace help.
#8 Chips All In (6-1) has a nose for the wire and should sit a decent outer tactical trip if he can avoid getting hung out to dry. The Mullins runner gets tested for class.
#7 Empire Way (6-1) is slowly improving for Mike Harrington. Royal Delta’s brother tries conventional dirt for the first time and will try to get involved late under Rosario.
#3 Groovin’ Solo (12-1) took to the local oval like a duck to water in his recent flat mile graduation run Dec 30. He sports two local bullets for this and is getting better but class is a cloud.
#1 Isn’t He Clever (6-1) is a New Mexico shipper with a hint of ability. The gelded son of Smarty Jones will probably flash speed from the rail under Nakatani. He will get a distance and class challenge.
#4 I’ll Have Another (12-1) would appreciate a speed favoring oval. He ran well in a pair of synthetic sprints last summer and has not been seen since struggling in the Saratoga slop last September.
$20 to win #5
$8 to win #8
$1 Trifecta 5-8/2-5-6-8/2-5-6-8 ($12)