02/13/2011 3:51PM

Anthony's Cross may await Santa Anita Derby

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BENOIT PHOTO
Anthony's Cross (inside), holding off Riveting Reason in the Robert Lewis, may skip the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita and not race again until April.

ARCADIA, Calif.- Anthony’s Cross, the winner of the Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday, may not start again until the $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 9, trainer Eoin Harty said on Sunday.

Plans for Tapizar, who finished fifth as the 1-5 favorite in the Lewis, have not been finalized, trainer Steve Asmussen said.

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Anthony’s Cross, an 8-1 shot, fought through the stretch to finish a nose in front of Riveting Reason in the $250,000 race over 1 1/8 miles. The Lewis was the first stakes win for Anthony’s Cross, a month after he finished third behind Tapizar in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes in his stakes debut.

Harty said he is leaning toward waiting for the Santa Anita Derby over 1 1/8 miles with Anthony’s Cross instead of starting the 3-year-old colt in the circuit’s next major stakes for 3-year-olds, the $250,000 San Felipe Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on March 12. The long-term goal, as expected, is the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 7.

“I don’t want to overcook him, but I don’t want to undercook him,” Harty said. “It might be a good time to back off a little bit. I want to have a semi-fresh horse for the Derby, if we’re good enough to get there.”

Tapizar led by as many as 2 1/2 lengths in the first half-mile of the Lewis, but faded through the stretch to finish a little more than six lengths behind Anthony’s Cross.

Asmussen was concerned about Tapizar’s behavior in the gate and early in the race.

“I’ve got to find out why he was so mad,” Asmussen said. “I don’t think matches a good description of who he is.”

He said the race provided “more questions than answers.”

Jockey Garrett Gomez described the colt as “antsy” and “a little more than a handful” during the race.

Quail Hill, third in the Robert Lewis in his stakes debut as a 68-1 outsider, will be considered for the San Felipe or the $800,000 Sunland Derby at Sunland Park in New Mexico on March 27, trainer David Hofmans said.

Plans uncertain for Silver Medallion

Asmussen’s Saturday was brighter in Northern California, where Silver Medallion pulled a 6-1 upset in his graded stakes debut in the $200,000 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields. Comma to the Top, a three-time stakes winner at Hollywood Park in the fall, could only finish fourth in the Grade 3 El Camino Read Derby over 1 1/8 miles, his 3-year-old debut.

Asmussen said on Sunday that he no specific race plans for Tapizar, Silver Medallion, or Albergatti, the winner of a seven-furlong maiden race in a quick 1:20.66 on Saturday.

Silver Medallion won the Eddie Logan Stakes on turf in his California debut on Dec. 31, and raced on a Tapeta synthetic track at Golden Gate Fields.

“He’s got two impressive things going for him,” Asmussen said. “He’s 3 and he stays.”

Albergatti’s win came in his second start, a month after he finished second in a maiden race. “I think he’s a stakes horse,” Asmussen said. “It’s a good sign the way he moved forward.”

Comma to the Top will start in the San Felipe, trainer Peter Miller said. Sent off as the 1-2 favorite in the El Camino Real, Comma to the Top finished 4 1/4 lengths behind Silver Medallion after stalking eventual runner-up Jakesam and nearly taking the lead at the eighth pole. Comma to the Top drifted to the outside early in the race and again in the stretch.

“I thought he ran pretty well,” Miller said. “He hadn’t run in two months, he shipped and he was running a mile and an eighth for the first time. We’ll point for the San Felipe and we’ll let him run his race and show his speed this time.

“I think he thrives on racing and training and that’s why I ran him three times at Hollywood Park in the fall.”