Bob Baffert holds a powerful three-card hand as his Santa Anita Derby winning Roadster, Mucho Gusto and Kingly loom large among a field of six sophomores in Sunday's Grade 3, $100,000 Affirmed Stakes at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. Named for Harbor View Farm's homebred Triple Crown Champion of 1978, the Affirmed will be contested at a mile and one sixteenth.
Owner: Speedway Stable, LLC; Trainer: Bob Baffert
An authoritative half-length winner of the G1 Santa Anita Derby on April 6, this Quality Road colt was never a factor over a sloppy track at Churchill Downs, finishing 16th in the Kentucky Derby on May 4. Sidelined due to an entrapped epiglottis following a third-place finish as the 3-5 favorite in the G1 Del Mar Futurity Sept. 3, Roadster came back running three starts back for Baffert on March 1, as he tried two turns for the first time in a 2 ½-length allowance win at a one mile. Although ridden by Florent Geroux in the Run for the Roses, he'll be reunited with Mike Smith, who had ridden him in his first four starts, in Sunday's Affirmed. The leading money winner in the field with $706,200, he has three wins from five starts.
Owner: Michael Lund Petersen; Trainer: Bob Baffert
Off as the prohibitive 1-2 favorite, this Kentucky-bred colt by Mucho Macho Man annexed his third graded stakes win on May 18, as he cut back in distance off of a disappointing third in the G3, 1 1/8-mile Sunland Derby to take the G3, seven-furlong Lazaro Barrera Stakes here by 3 ¼ lengths. A 4 ¾-length winner of the G3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes going 1 1/16 miles three starts back on Feb. 2, Mucho Gusto could prove an elusive front-running target under regular rider Joe Talamo.
Owner: Clearview Stables, LLC, RAC O4 Racing, LLC and Michael Meegan; Trainer: Bob Baffert
A first-out maiden winner going six furlongs at Del Mar on Dec. 1, this son of Tapit comes off a third-place finish to Affirmed rival Visitant in the one-mile Alcatraz Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on May 19. A half-length victor over Visitant two starts back in the 1 1/8-mile California Derby on April 27, Kingly is 5-2-2-1 and will be ridden by Mario Gutierrez for the third consecutive time. With his last three starts coming on synthetic Tapeta at Golden Gate, he'll return to Santa Anita's main track for the first time since Jan. 31, when he was third as the 8-5 favorite in a one mile allowance over a sloppy track.
Owner: Williamson Racing, LLC; Trainer: John F. Martin
A winner of three out his four starts, all at Golden Gate, this homebred colt by Ghostzapper rallied from off the pace to win the one mile Alcatraz on May 19 by 1 ¼ lengths, earning an Affirmed-best last-out Beyer Speed Figure of 91. With regular rider William Antongeorgi in town to ride, it would appear Visitant will have plenty of pace to run at as he gets a major test for class.
GRADE 3 AFFIRMED STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 8 of 9 Approximate post time 4:35 p.m. PT
- Visitant—William Antongeorgi—122
- Always Forgiven—Kent Desormeaux—120
- Manhattan Up—Tiago Pereira—120
- Kingly—Mario Gutierrez—122
- Roadster—Mike Smith—124
- Mucho Gusto—Joe Talamo—124
First post time for a nine-race card on Sunday is at 1 p.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.comor call (626) 574-RACE.
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