Ever a Derby Winner With Better Credentials Than Nyquist?Read this article
Stakes Debut for Well-Bred Lemhill Basr in $70,000 Anoakia Stakes
On Sunday at Santa Anita, the featured race is the $70,000 Anoakia Stakes. Restricted to two-year-old fillies, the six-furlong contest has attracted a field of nine.
Lemhill Basr tops the wide open field as the morning line favorite at odds of 7-2 for trainer Bob Baffert. Purchased for $800,000, the bay daughter of Quality Road is out of the multiple graded stakes winning mare Diplomat Lady. She will be stepping up to stakes competition for the first time after breaking her maiden in her career debut in front-running fashion at Los Alamitos. Martin Garcia will remain aboard and they will break from the rail.
Surfside Tiara trying to rebound after Debutante
Second choice at morning line odds of 4-1 is Surfside Tiara for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. A chestnut daughter of Scat Daddy, she fetched $120,000 at auction as a juvenile and has one win from three outings. After a runner-up effort in her debut, she broke her maiden in her next start at Del Mar and subsequently went on to finish seventh in the Del Mar Debutante Stakes (G1). Rafael Bejarano will be aboard from post position four.
Six-figure Uptown Twirl trying for first stakes win
Also in the field at morning line odds of 9-2 is Uptown Twirl for trainer John Sadler. A bay daughter of Twirling Candy, she was purchased earlier in the year for $630,000 and delivered in her debut race with a half-length victory as the heavy favorite. She was fifth in the Sorrento Stakes (G2) in her stakes debut and has been training steadily since then. Joe Talamo will be aboard and they will break from post position six.
For all the negative buzz about Nyquist's average speed figures and vulnerability, the newly crowned and much-deserving 2016 Kentucky Derby winner might just have the most impeccable credentials of any Derby winner in the illustrious history of the race - and certainly in the modern era.
On Friday at Churchill Downs, the field has been set for the 142nd running of the $1 million Kentucky Oaks. The Grade 1 event, carded at a mile and an eighth, has drawn a full field of fourteen three-year-old fillies with one listed as an also-eligible.
With the final round of Kentucky Derby preps in the books, it seems improbable, but arguable that the March 12 Tampa Derby was the most useful and review-worthy of the 24 official point-bearing races in 2016.