02/02/2013 7:09PM

Santa Anita: Flashback's speed makes up for lack of experience in Lewis

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Flashback streaks home a clear winner in the Lewis under jockey Julien Leparoux.

ARCADIA, Calif. – In a race tailor-made for his front-running style, Flashback proved yet again that talent trumps experience by running away  from his three rivals in the Grade 2, $196,000 Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday, firmly establishing himself as one of the leading Kentucky Derby contenders on the West Coast.

Flashback only had a debut win against maidens to his credit, in a sprint race nearly two months ago at Betfair Hollywood Park. He was making his stakes debut in the 1 1/16-mile Lewis, and was stretching out around two turns, but he had a distinct pace advantage, and he made full use of it.

Flashback ($3) set easy fractions of 24.17 seconds for the opening quarter and 48.69 seconds for a half-mile – the slowest half-mile fraction of the meet at the distance – then threw a 23.48 third quarter at his rivals before drawing clear to a 6 1/4-length victory in 1:42.95 for 1 1/16 miles on the fast main track.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

Bob Baffert trains Flashback, and he swept the exacta when the consistent Den’s Legacy rallied for second, a half-length in front of He’s Had Enough. Little Jerry trailed.

“He’s still a little green, but it was an easy race,” said jockey Julien Leparoux, who has ridden Flashback in both his starts. “If he keeps improving, I think he’s got a bright future. He’s going to improve off this race.”

Flashback, a colt by Tapit, was purchased as a weanling for $260,000 by owners Gary and Mary West.

“He’s always shown us he’s a very talented horse,” Baffert said. “We were hoping he’d do something like that. I think he’ll get something out of the race. As far as distance, that shouldn’t be a problem, and he’s got tactical speed.”

Flashback is likely to race twice more here this meet, including in the Grade 1, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 6.

“The last prep is so important. You have to run well,” Baffert said. “It’s still early. It’s still pre-season right now. As he goes on, he’s going to have to run against better horses – which hopefully will be just mine.”

- additional reporting by Brad Free

steve milgats More than 1 year ago
The 50 point races should have bigger and better fields. Baffert got off esay. Why race for 10 points when you could race for 50 two weeks out. 50 will most probably get you in. 10 Make you a headline for a week.
Tony Fortunelli More than 1 year ago
In addition to the 4 horses that were in the forefront this weekend, I also think that Goldencents, Fortify, Bern Identity, and Dewey Square (sic) are horses to keep an eye out for on the open trail ahead. I am partial to Fortify and Bern Identity, and Violence, although I was impressed with Revolutionary's moves throughout the race. He showed alot of horse sense usually attributed to older horses. He seems to have a natural ability that is yet untapped, and of course, unchallenged.
Tony Fortunelli More than 1 year ago
Flashback ran the fastest of the 3 spotlight races for 3 yr. olds early in the season and his quarter times were consistent and improved along the way. Impressive win over not so impressive competion. Verranzo was not stunning in a 16 1//2 length victory over an optional claiming and as admitted a glorified workout, so it didn't really determine his ability to deal with competitive company. His time was impressive in that he was just out for a "race-like" workout. Revolutionary ran a good race and had to make some tactical moves. He probably didn't beat a great field although 'Logistics and Falling Sky were anticipated to be the standouts. It's so early in the season to be too high on any one 3 yr. old, but so far it seems to me that Flashback and It'smyluckyday are at the head of the group followed by Shanghai Bobby and Revolutionary and my guess is that only a maximum of 2 of the aforementioned will run in the Derby
Forego137 More than 1 year ago
Love him or hate him all Baffert does is win and like the old saying goes "Don't shoot the messinger" its not his fault that other trainers don't have the stock to compete with the Baffert stable and that reason is because Baffert is a winner and can handle the pressure of the game and can get a horse ready for the big dance better than most.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
You had me up to the last sentence. If you include the breeders cup in the big dance, then Bob was 0 for 9 last year, and you might want to check his record the last five years. Not good. Little to do with having them ready.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Solid, open minded and knowledgable post.
Mike More than 1 year ago
Baffert is good at one thing: Thats placing his horses where they can win. Except of course when the TC races arrive and he can no longer dodge the better horses. Same goes for the Breeder's Cup......
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Owners prefer to have their horse placed where they can win.......I guess common sense ain't that common.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Then why did they run him in the breeders cup?
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
run Dude.
Meydan Rocks More than 1 year ago
Big Jeff would you quit pickin on Mike? PS: MIKE! What do you mean by "except when the TC races arrive and he can no longer DODGE the BETTER horses?" Mike Mike old buddy! When did Bullet Bob last win a TC race? Speak to me Mike!
Mike More than 1 year ago
Oh boy! Baffert beat two horses yesterday!
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
And his owners cashed the same size check they would have gotten in a 12 horse field. And the horse earned the same points. You are right he is good.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Actually with a 12 horse field it's possible he wouldn't have cashed the same size check. I'm guessing you had this horse cashing a $2.40 ticket and parlayed that into Dude today cashing a $210 ticket. Congrats. I'm not taking anything away from this horse, I like him, he's in my top six at this point.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Offer STILL stands.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
You're a hoot. Let's see, I touted Itsmyluckyday three times on this site prior to the Holy Bull, paid $12.40. I think you named three horses in that race that finished up the track. But, congrats again for your win cashing a $2.10 ticket on Game On Dude.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Didn't bet G.O.D and didn't "TOUT" anything. More hot air that makes no "cents". I'll repeat once more for all to see Offer Still Stands. You can either keep name calling and blowing smoke or you can step up to plate. Whatever you decide it's your choice,
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Actually Jeff you did. You picked Frac Daddy and Bern Idendity to upset Bobby I picked one, Itsmyluckyday. Both of your horses finished far behind lucky's record performance.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Name calling? Blowing smoke? You seem to the overly sensitive type. You once cried uncle and begged for a truce. I gave it and left you alone, then you start stalking me in your creepy way. Never bite off more than you can chew. I do have a feeling that your are about a 12 year old boy or girl, so I'm not going to pick on you, but if you stalk and call me out.....
Meydan Rocks More than 1 year ago
Mike if you quit doing what your boss requires you to do you would get fired. Please. Help me here. We're trying to guess the winners of these races not get irate about how good a job Baffert is doing for his owners.
mrm More than 1 year ago
He's obviously a talented horse but can't get to excited after beating a 4 horse field.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Would he be more taleted had he won in identical time with ten horse behind him?
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Yes, of course it would have been more impressive if running the same time in an 11 horse field, and anyone should know that. The dynamics of the race change completely. They crawled the first part and he got a perfect postion and cushy early fractions. He may have been pushed harder early if committed to the lead or have to stalk and go around. He may have got a challenge coming off the turn or midstretch. C'mon Jeff, of course it would have been more impressive in a larger field. How do you not know these things.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
not bashing the horse, I like him a little bit. But, you seem to not have the ability to be objective.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Flashback will probably receive a Beyer in the mid-90s. similar to what the Baffert runner, Tiz the Truth, will receive breaking his maiden in the first. I prefer Flashback's performance of the two. First, even though running a sixteenth further, his 6 furlong split was quicker, that the result of the pressure from He's Had Enough and that quick 3rd quarter. Tiz the Truth was basically allowed to run 24 and 2 uncontested quarters for the first 6 furlongs. He had absolutely no physical pressure from another horse nor did Stevens mess up and throw too fast of an internal quarter. Tiz the Truth had unbelievably ideal circumstances until the top of the stretch when, to his credit, he really turned it on. His last 5-16ths was awesome, but then again I don't know how much the race showed us because he's unlikely to ever be able to get an uncontested lead in a one mile while putting up the first 3 quarters in 1:12 and 4.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Not all that much to take from the race, but like that Flashback received some pressure that 3rd quarter from He's Had Enough and then shrugged that one off after a 23 and change quarter. So, while that first half was real slow, I like that he faced some pressure and that he had to put up a solid internal quarter. Also, I really don't think Flashback is a frontrunner. He obviously can utilize such a style, but I think he'll prove best with a target. As for the also-rans in the Lewis, Den's Legacy is what he is, and that just doesn't appear to be good enough to compete against the best of his generation and He's Had Enough has run one good race in his career, and he didn't even run fast that time.
Nancy Rhinehart More than 1 year ago
Nice having the jock aboard Jen's Legacy strangling early so FLASHBACK can coast on the lead in 48 and change. Typical wrestling match orchestrated by Baffert, who has most of the main contenders in these absurd 4 horse fields. Should get himself a ski mask for the winner's circle pictures in these "races" .
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
"DEN"S" Legacy typically runs from off the pace. Watch his previous races.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Off what pace? The pace was so slow that Den had to be strangled to stay off it and behind Flashback. Clearly that was his instructions. Jeff, try to be a little objective and not so blind in your Baffert love and defense of such. Nancy had a good and valid point. It's not that big of deal.