Reigning juvenile champion Storm the Court heads a field of six sophomore Derby hopefuls going seven furlongs Sunday as he makes his 3-year-old debut in the Grade 2, $200,000 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif.
An upset winner of the G1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile at 1 1/16 miles Nov. 1, Storm the Court, who is conditioned by Peter Eurton, will be making his fifth career start and will again be ridden by Flavien Prat.
Although Storm the Court is the marque horse of the moment, Bob Baffert's Nadal, an ultra impressive first-out maiden winner going 6 ½ furlongs here on Jan. 19, could well be the post time favorite. Baffert will also send out Ra'ad, a handy six furlong Los Alamitos maiden winner in early December.
STORM THE COURT – Owner: Exline Border Racing, LLC, David Bernson & Dan Hudock; Trainer: Peter Eurton
A $60,000 Ocala Breeders' Sales April 2-year-old in training sale purchase, this colt by Court Vision continued to exceed all expectations with a game head victory at odds of 45-1 in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Out of the Tejano Run mare My Tejana Storm, he was a first-out maiden winner going 5 ½ furlongs Aug. 10 and subsequently lost all chance in the G1, seven-furlong Del Mar Futurity Sept. 2, when Prat was unseated shortly after the break. A well beaten third at 19-1 by highly regarded Eight Rings in the G1 American Pharoah Stakes Sept. 27, Storm the Court has been double digits in the wagering in all four of his starts, but won't be that kind of price on Sunday. Although he's already got $1,172,951 in the bank, a win in the San Vicente would undoubtedly further enhance his Derby status.
NADAL – Owner: George Bolton, Arthur Hoyeau, Barry Lipman & Mark Mathiesen; Trainer: Bob Baffert
A Kentucky-bred colt by Blame, he was an awesome first-out maiden winner, driving to the lead after the first half mile and winning as much the best by 3 ¾-lengths under J.C. Diaz, Jr., while earning a San Vicente-best 98 Beyer Speed Figure. A $700,000 Fasig Tipton March 2-year-old in Training Sale graduate, Nadal will get the services of leading rider Joel Rosario as he starts down the Derby trail.
GINOBILI – Owner: Slam Dunk Racing, Richard Baltas, Jerry McClanahan & Michael Nentwig; Trainer: Richard Baltas
An impressive gate-to-wire maiden winner in his second start going six furlongs, Ginobili got an 83 Beyer Speed Figure for his efforts, which ranks third among San Vicente starters. Subsequently fourth, beaten five lengths in the Del Mar Futurity, Ginobili was then a close fourth in the five-furlong turf Speakeasy Stakes as the 5-2 favorite on Oct. 6. Although he's got plenty to prove against solid competition, Ginobili has plenty of natural speed and looms dangerous as a fresh horse in what will be his fifth start.
RA'AD – Owner: RRR Racing, Inc.; Trainer: Bob Baffert
A well beaten fourth in his debut by last Saturday's G3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes winner Thousand Words, this colt by Twirling Candy was a solid 2 ½ length maiden winner at 3-5 going six furlongs over a wet track at Los Alamitos on Dec. 7. A $500,000 Ocala Sales 2-year-old in Training Sale graduate, Ra'ad is out of the Suave mare Tough Market and like so many in Baffert's care, appears to have a very bright future. Fitted with blinkers in both of his starts, Ra'ad will be ridden back by Drayden Van Dyke.
G2 SAN VICENTE STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 7 of 8 Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PT
- Fast Enough—Tiago Pereira–124
- Ra'ad—Drayden Van Dyke—120
- Party Town—Jorge Velez—120
- Nadal—Joel Rosario—120
- Storm the Court—Flavien Prat—124
- Ginobili—Abel Cedillo–120
First post time for an eight-race card on Sunday is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates will open at 10:30 a.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
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