Having taken the Sham (G3) last month with their Grade 1 winner Gormley, owners Jerry and Ann Moss and trainer John Shirreffs look to make it two-for-two in Santa Anita’s Kentucky Derby (G1) preps this season when Royal Mo breaks from the rail in Saturday’s $150,000 Robert B. Lewis (G3).
The 1 1/16-mile Lewis came up extremely light with a field of just five, and will be run as the second race on a card that features three other graded stakes. Kentucky Derby eligibility points of 10-4-2-1 will be awarded to the top four finishers.
Royal Mo is the least experienced of the quintet, but led all the way in breaking his maiden over a mile at Del Mar in late November and might show speed again from post 1. A close second in his debut during the Del Mar summer meet, he rallied for second behind the well-regarded Beach Bum after a slow start in his second start.
Sheer Flattery, another last-out maiden winner, has already faced some of the better Southern California colts. A clear second to eventual Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) winner Mastery second out, he was then fifth to Sham runner-up American Anthem two back after a bad break. He finally put it all together on New Year’s Eve, winning by a nose in his two-turn debut.
The field’s lone stakes winners are Term of Art, who won the off-the-turf Cecil B. DeMille (G3) at Del Mar, and Dangerfield, who landed the $55,000 Oak Tree Juvenile at Pleasanton in October. Term of Art was subsequently a well-beaten fifth in the Sham, while Dangerfield exits distant third-place efforts in the Delta Jackpot (G3) and Los Alamitos Futurity.
The field is rounded out by Irap, second to Mastery in the Los Alamitos Futurity but fourth as the favorite in Sheer Flattery’s maiden score. The Doug O’Neill trainee adds blinkers for the first time in the Lewis.