2023 Robert B. Lewis Stakes Betting Odds and Contenders Preview
Saturday, February 4, at Santa Anita features the next major three-year-old prep race for the West Coast set, the Robert B. Lewis (G3). The race covers a mile and a sixteenth on the dirt.
It is an interesting case among Kentucky Derby prep races. Normally the race would offer 20-8-6-4-1 Road to the Kentucky Derby points to its top four finishers. However, this year’s edition drew a field of four and they are all trained by Bob Baffert. Baffert has won the last four editions of the Lewis and six of the last eight, but his runners are ineligible for points.
Even with that, though, this could be a preview for the West Coast Kentucky Derby picture. Baffert’s top three-year-olds like Taiba and Messier were moved to eligible barns for the Derby trail last year, and this year there is a Feb. 28 deadline for Baffert’s horses to be moved elsewhere to earn points. So, horses who run well in the Lewis may be moved elsewhere to earn points later.
The last winner of the Lewis to go on to win the Kentucky Derby was I’ll Have Another (2012), though Medina Spirit (2021) crossed the wire first in the Run for the Roses and was taken down.
Robert B. Lewis Stakes 2023 Information
Race Date: Saturday, February 4, 2023
Track: Santa Anita
Post Time: 1:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time
Distance: 1 1/16 miles
Where to Watch: FanDuel TV
Where to Bet: TVG.com and FanDuel Racing
Robert B. Lewis Stakes Odds
This is the field for the 2023 Robert B. Lewis Stakes, arranged by post position. It includes trainer and jockey information, and morning lines will be added when they are available.
|1||Arabian Lion||John Velazquez||Bob Baffert||7/5|
|2||Newgate||Frankie Dettori||Bob Baffert||8/5|
|3||Worcester||Juan Hernandez||Bob Baffert||9/5|
|4||Hard to Figure||Ramon Vazquez||Bob Baffert||8/1|
Robert B. Lewis Stakes Prep Results
All four entrants in the Lewis come out of different last-out preps, though some have crossed paths in previous starts. Three of the four come from graded company. Arabian Lion disappointed at odds-on in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) on December 17, and has freshened up since. Newgate most recently raced in the Sham (G3), where he missed by a neck but still finished 3/4 length ahead of more proven stablemate National Treasure, who does not return in this. Hard to Figure has rested since finishing a well-beaten fifth and last in the Bob Hope (G3) on November 25 at Del Mar.
Only Worcester has yet to face stakes company. In fact, he has yet to face winners, or even win a race. He was last seen finishing a late-running second in a maiden special weight sprint at Santa Anita on January 15.
Robert B. Lewis Stakes Contenders
These are the contenders in the 2023 Robert B. Lewis Stakes, organized by post position:
Arabian Lion: He was well regarded after a frontrunning maiden win at Santa Anita and a close second behind Giant Mischief in a Breeders’ Cup undercard allowance at Keeneland. However, he faded badly to run fifth and last in the Los Alamitos Futurity, his first try at two turns. He still has to prove he can handle two turns, though some horses just do poorly at Los Alamitos, and his pedigree suggests he should stretch out. However, taking a short price on that proposition may not be a good bet.
Newgate: He won by open lengths on debut last July at Del Mar, but struggled in a pair of Grade 1 tries after that. His second-place finish in the Bob Hope (where he finished well ahead of Hard to Figure) was a step in the right direction, and a neck second in the Sham suggested that he could handle a two-turn trip after a few more months to develop. His biggest challenge will be making sure no one shakes clear in this short field, given that Dettori rode him well off the pace the one time they paired up, though especially if Dettori takes advantage of the speed he showed last year things may go well.
Worcester: He is the only maiden in the field, and the only horse without any stakes experience at all. Though he ran a flat fourth on debut in December, he stepped forward second-out with an extra half furlong underneath him and there is some suggestion in his pedigree that he will love this trip, as he is by Empire Maker out of a Super Saver mare who has produced a route winner (despite the fact that she was a stakes-winning sprinter). Bob Baffert lights the track on fire with both his first-time routers and his sprint-sprint-route patterns, so Worcester is the runner with the most upside.
Hard to Figure: He was a well-beaten third in both open maiden special weight attempts last year, including a third to Newgate on debut last July. A drop to California-bred stakes company got him in the winners’ circle, but he was again well beaten by Newgate in the Bob Hope. He has been on the shelf since November 20 and fired some bullets since, though he still needs to improve a lot to hold his own against these improving open-company horses.
Robert B. Lewis Stakes Past Winners Past Performances
In recent years the Robert B. Lewis has been the Bob Baffert show, as he has won seven of the last ten runnings. That trend will not change this year as Baffert trains every single entrant.
As for Bob Baffert’s patterns for his live horses? Most of the roads lead through the Los Alamitos Futurity. Looking in the last ten years, five of Baffert’s seven winners of the Robert B. Lewis have come out of that race. Dortmund (2015), Mor Spirit (2016), and Thousand Words (2020) won it. Mucho Gusto (2019) and Messier (2022) ran second. Among Baffert’s other recent winners of the Lewis, Flashback (2013) came out of a debut maiden win and Medina Spirit (2021) had been second in the Sham.
Among the three other winners in the last ten years who were not trained by Baffert, Candy Boy (2014) also came out of a second-place win in the Cashcall Futurity, a race at Hollywood Park that became the Los Alamitos Futurity later. The other two, Royal Mo (2017) and Lombo (2018), both came out of third-out maiden special weight wins.
Robert B. Lewis Stakes Card
The Robert B. Lewis Stakes will be run as the third of 10 races on Santa Anita’s Saturday card, and is one of four graded races. The $100,000 Megahertz (G3) features older filly and mare turf milers, and will be run right after the Lewis. Later in the day, older filly and mare dirt sprinters shine in the $200,000 Santa Monica (G2), and twelve older male turf milers have their day in the $100,000 Thunder Road (G3).
With some of the classiest horses in the west ready for action, and particularly large fields in the turf races, make plans to tune into FanDuel TV and bet Santa Anita all day long Saturday!
Santa Anita Park
Santa Anita Park began as a part of Rancho Santa Anita. After a series of owners, it was acquired by horse breeder Lucky Baldwin, who built the original Santa Anita Park in 1904. That facility closed in 1909 after a California law banning racetrack gambling, and burned down in 1912. Horse racing became legal again in California in 1933, after which the Los Angeles Turf Club was formed. They built a new track, the present Santa Anita, which opened on Christmas Day in 1934.
Santa Anita's main track is a one-mile dirt oval. The turf track inside of it is a 0.9-mile grass oval. A unique feature of that Santa Anita turf track is the downhill course, which juts out to the northwest over the far turn, crosses over the dirt, and then joins the turf oval. Santa Anita runs 6 1/2-furlong turf sprints over that course, and also uses it as a start for some of its longer turf routes.
Robert B. Lewis Stakes FAQ
Q: When is the Robert B. Lewis Stakes?
A: The 2023 Robert B. Lewis Stakes will be run Saturday, February 4 at 1:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.
Q: Where is the Robert B. Lewis Stakes?
A: It takes place at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.
Q: Which trainer has the most wins in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes?
A: Bob Baffert, who trains the entire field in the Robert B. Lewis this year, has already won the race ten times. That first win came in 1999 with General Challenge, and he most recently won in 2022 with Messier.
Q: Who is the favorite for the 2023 Robert B. Lewis Stakes?
A: The likely favorite for the 2023 Robert B. Lewis Stakes is Arabian Lion. Though he disappointed in the Los Alamitos Futurity, that race tends to be Baffert’s main prep for his live horses in the Lewis and his second-place effort at Keeneland was impressive.
Q: Who is the best Robert B. Lewis Stakes jockey?
A: The best Robert B. Lewis jockeys of all time are Bill Shoemaker and Laffit Pincay, Jr., both of whom won the race seven times. However, both are retired. Among jockeys riding in the race this year, the only one who has won it before is John Velazquez, who won it for the first time last year.
Q: Who won the 2022 Robert B. Lewis Stakes?
A: Messier won the 2022 Robert B. Lewis Stakes for trainer Bob Baffert and jockey John Velazquez, who reunite for the 2023 edition with likely favorite Arabian Lion.