June 24, 2024

Nysos faces four in San Felipe; Highlands Falls ships for Big Cap

Nysos wins the Robert B. Lewis S. (G3) at Santa Anita Park (Photo by Benoit Photography)

Santa Anita has moved Saturday’s card to Sunday due to forecasted heavy rains, and the 10-race program features four graded stakes, including the 87th running of the Santa Anita H. (G1) and the San Felipe (G2) for three-year-olds.

The 1 1/16-mile San Felipe, a Road to the Kentucky Derby series qualifier, has attracted unbeaten Nysos, a 7 1/2-length winner of the Robert B. Lewis (G3) on Feb. 3, but the Nyquist colt won’t be eligible for points since he’s trained by Bob Baffert, who is suspended by Churchill Downs.

Nysos, who has captured his three starts by a combined 26 1/4 lengths, has been pegged as the 1-5 morning line favorite with Flavien Prat. He will be joined in the starting gate by a pair of stablemates, Lewis runner-up Wine Me Up and Imagination, who will make his stakes debut following a neck second in an entry-level allowance.

Scatify and Mc Vay, third and fourth in the Lewis, will look to pad their point total for the Kentucky Derby (G1). John Sadler trains Scatify, a debut maiden winner in mid-December, and John Shirreffs is responsible for the maiden Mc Vay.

In the 1 1/4-mile Big Cap, Highland Falls will make his anticipated first stakes attempt. The four-year-old son of Curlin has captured three of four starts, recording allowance wins at Churchill Downs in mid-November and Fair Grounds two months later, and the Godolphin homebred colt hails from 2006 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) winner Round Pond, who is already the dam of a pair of stakes winners and the dam of Grade 1 victor Speaker’s Corner.

Highland Falls is listed as the 3-1 second choice with Florent Geroux.

Newgrange, winner of the San Pasqual (G2) and San Antonio (G2) in his last two outings, is an early 5-2 favorite in the seven-horse field. Victor Espinoza rides for Phil D’Amato. Other contenders include Newgate, Salesman, and Subsanador.

Easter will seek his fourth consecutive turf stakes win in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1). Winner of the San Gabriel (G2) and Seabiscuit (G2) in his first two starts for D’Amato, the six-year-old gelding will square off against eight rivals, and Antonio Fresu will guide the 9-5 morning line favorite.

Del Mar Mile (G2) winner Du Jour, Thunder Road (G3) romper Gollad, and San Marcos (G3) victor Prince Abama are also entered for the mile turf affair.

Megahertz (G3) winner Bellabel and Pegasus Filly & Mare Turf (G2) third Ruby Nell are among 11 females entered for the Buena Vista (G2) at a mile on turf.