03/06/2012 3:00PM

Santa Anita: Rousing Sermon will need big showing in San Felipe

Benoit & Associates
Rousing Sermon (8) runs a close second to Liaison in the CashCall Futurity.

ARCADIA, Calif. – The third-place finish by Rousing Sermon in the Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb. 4 led to a pep talk between owner Larry Williams and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

The colt had been a fast-closing second in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park in December, and there were high expectations for his first start of 2012.

“Larry hasn’t lost any confidence in him,” Hollendorfer said earlier this week. “We talked about it and he asked if I’d lost any faith, and I said I hadn’t.”

Rousing Sermon makes his second start of 2012 in Saturday’s $300,000 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita, the final stakes prep for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 7. Rousing Sermon needs big performances in both races to justify a trip to the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5.

“If you want to keep on the trail, you have to do more,” Hollendorfer said.

The champion California-bred colt of 2011, Rousing Sermon actually finished fourth in the Lewis, beaten 6 3/4 lengths by I’ll Have Another. Rousing Sermon was promoted to third after original third-place finisher Groovin’ Solo was disqualified for causing interference in the stretch.

Since the Lewis, Rousing Sermon has worked quickly, including a half-mile in 46.60 seconds at Hollywood Park last Sunday. “He had a good blowout,” Hollendorfer said.

In the CashCall, Rousing Sermon was as far back as 11th in a field of 13. In the Lewis Stakes, he was sixth in a field of eight, but closer to the pace throughout. Hollendorfer does not want Rousing Sermon too far behind the leaders in the San Felipe, considering that Santa Anita’s main track is friendly to speed.

“On any given day, speed will hold,” he said. “We’d like to sit off and make a run if we can get some pace.”

The San Felipe will not include I’ll Have Another, who is being pointed for the Santa Anita Derby. The San Felipe probable starters include the stakes winners Creative Cause, Liaison, and Midnight Transfer, and the stakes-placed Empire Way, and the impressive allowance race winner Fed Biz.

Tuesday at Hollywood Park, Creative Cause, third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs last November, worked a half-mile in 46.60 seconds, the fastest of 34 works at the distance.

jose mesa More than 1 year ago
I will clarify my thoughts on Creative Cause after the San Felipe,his last workout is enhancing what my initial instincts are about him,eventhough his pedigree leads many to believe otherwise.If he wins in a good way I will have to rethink my initial impressions of him.
Brian Book More than 1 year ago
so anonymous you really think FED BIZ will not be a factor. i would not put my money on that matter of fact FED BIZ will be my bet saturday.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Baffert is one of the brightest - smartest trainers , horseman that we have in this industry . Baffert has made the wise - smart move by pulling FED BIZ out of the San Felipe Stakes . I do not mean to bash any-one . . . But I have been watching work outs after work outs every morning , and to me - FED BIZ has not looked the same to me at all . That was my main reason why I Said that FED BIZ would not be a factor . And Honestly , NOT MUCH OF A FACTOR BEYOND A MILE ! Alot like Drill ! If you would notice in FED BIZ last race , even though he had a wonderful lead at the wire , FED BIZ was ducking in and out , and changing leads left and right . Just not a good sign to me as a DERBY Distance type
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Harrington decides to run EMPIRE WAY & CREATIVE CAUSE in the same race in the San Felipe Stakes Hummmmmmmm ! Why , Hmmmmm . . . CREATIVE CAUSE at this time of stage has too much ability going forward , and will only get better and better if stays fit like he is at this point . EMPIRE WAY just has not been conditioned in the right races leading up to this years DERBY . And now , Harrington is pushing the panic button . I can only see Harrington doing this kind of move to help set up the pace to allow EMPIRE WAY for a better chance at closing in at the wire in time , while they set the instructions for CREATIVE CAUSE to slow it down near the wire to allow EMPIE WAY to close ground . FED BIZ , in my opinion will npot be much of a factor turning for home . So maybe Harrington feels the same . EMPIRE WAY ..... NEEDS THE EARNINGS