Please provide a valid email address.


Can Handsome Mike rebound in San Fernando? (Image courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire)

The 61st running of the Grade 2, $150,000 San Fernando Stakes brings together a field of 10 newly turned four-year-olds, four of which come from the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. The well strung quartet is led by the winner of the El Cajon Stakes last August, Fed Biz, whose most recent pair of efforts were disappointing as he finished eighth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) and sixth in the Malibu Stakes (G1). Mile High Magic tries two turns for the first time and could be the pacesetter in the San Fernando after pressing the pace in second position before fading to fifth in the Damascus Stakes in his most recent effort. The other two Baffert trainees are Guilt Trip (fifth in the Santa Anita opening day featured Malibu Stakes) and Sky Kingdom (last seen 11 months ago when sixth in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G2)).

Leading the group of non-Baffert starters in terms of previous accomplishments is Handsome Mike, winner of the Pennsylvania Derby (G2) last September, but with ninth and 10th place finishes since then. Tribal Jewel is an interesting horse as he won his most recent race and is a perfect two-for-two in routes (a mile or more) at Santa Anita, the most recent of those wins coming just 17 days ago. Tritap, who also enters the race off a victory around two turns, attempts to provide owner Winchell Thoroughbreds and trainer Steve Asmussen a win in the San Fernando for the second year in a row following victory by eventual Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Tapizar last year. Regulus won his only two-turn race at Santa Anita last fall and although his most recent effort was a next-to-last finish it was on a different surface, so this well-bred colt is yet another with a shot at success in the San Fernando. Sir Beaufort Stakes (G2, on turf) runner-up Battle Force is trying conventional dirt for the first time but gets the ground saving rail and could have a say in the outcome as well. Fly Lexis Fly rounds out the field, his best effort in four tries since coming to North America having occurred when second in the Super Derby (G2) last September.


In spite of others having run well in stakes races previously, Tribal Jewel gets top billing in this year’s San Fernando Stakes, based on his field high last race 110  Equibase Speed Figure earned when winning over the track on opening day, December 26. Adding blinkers for the first time for that race, Tribal Jewel rallied from off the pace and won more easily than the one length margin on paper makes it appear. Having won his only other two-turn race at Santa Anita, in October, and with a rock solid morning drill recently in preparation for this race, Tribal Jewel appears ready to repeat or improve off that last effort and if he does he could be extremely tough to beat in this situation.

Tritap shipped in from Kentucky following his gutty victory in November by a head at the unusual distance of 1 3/16 miles, earning a strong 104 figure in the process. Rested since then but pointing to this race with a quartet of excellent workouts in the morning, this son of Tapit appears ready to run well again and follows the pattern of stablemate Tapizar, who had been away from the races for two months before winning this race last year for the same owner (Winchell Thoroughbreds) and trainer (Steve Asmussen).

Regulus won the only time he ever raced around two turns at Santa Anita in September, tying a career-best 102 figure earned prior to that in another two-turn win. Rested a bit over two months, Regulus ran poorly in his most recent start on December 1, but that race took place on the cushion track surface at Betfair Hollywood Park and took place against much more seasoned, older foes. Facing only four year olds today and with a repeat of that previous race at Santa Anita, this son of multiple Grade 1 stakes winner Stellar Jayne could post the upset to win the San Fernando.

The rest of the San Fernando field (with their best representative Equibase Speed Figure): Battle Force (102), Fed Biz (110), Fly Lexis Fly (107), Guilt Trip (102), Handsome Mike (112), Mile High Magic (108) and Sky Kingdom (102). 

My Selections:

Tribal Jewel



$150,000 San Fernando Stakes (G2)

Saturday, January 12, Race 7, Santa Anita

Post Time 6:36 PM EST

1 1/16 miles, 4-year-olds







Battle Force (KY)

G K Gomez


J A Shirreffs


Fly Lexis Fly (KY)

R Bejarano


N D Drysdale


Regulus (KY)

A T Gryder


E G Harty


Mile High Magic (KY)

M Garcia


B Baffert


Guilt Trip (KY)

J Talamo


B Baffert


Handsome Mike (KY)

M Gutierrez


D F O'Neill


Sky Kingdom (KY)

E A Maldonado


B Baffert


Fed Biz (KY)

M E Smith


B Baffert


Tribal Jewel (CA)

J R Leparoux


J Hollendorfer


Tritap (KY)

C S Nakatani


S M Asmussen

Blinkers On: Handsome Mike, Fly Lexis Fly

Blinkers Off: Mile High Magic

Image Description

Ellis Starr

National Racing Analyst for Equibase, Fan Education Specialist, Bettor, Magister of Equine Prognostication (Handicapper).

Image Description

Ellis Starr

National Racing Analyst for Equibase, Fan Education Specialist, Bettor, Magister of Equine Prognostication (Handicapper).

Sponsors & Partners

  • FoxSports1
  • Autism Speaks
  • NBC Sports
  • Logo 6
  • Saratoga
  • Santa Anita
  • CBS Sports
  • Monmouth
  • Keeneland
  • Gulfstream Park
  • Del Mar
  • Belmont Park
  • Arlington Park
  • OwnerView