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Santa Anita: Flashback's speed makes up for lack of experience in Lewis
By Jay Privman
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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......
Oh boy! Baffert beat two horses yesterday!
He's obviously a talented horse but can't get to excited after beating a 4 horse field.
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.
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.
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" .
- 1.Posted 12/08/2013 09:52AM
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