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Fed Biz Favored in Strub Stakes

Fed Biz with Mike Smith aboard wins the San Fernando Stakes G2 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California on January 12, 2013.
Regarded by many as Bob Baffert’s top Derby prospect, Fed Biz validated his early notices in his 4-year-old debut at Santa Anita on Jan. 12, winning the Grade II San Fernando Stakes at 1 1/16 miles, thus setting the stage for his role as favorite in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Strub Stakes at 1 1/8 miles.

With Mike Smith aboard, Fed Biz fought back gamely in the San Fernando to deny the Steve Asmussen-trained Tritap, with Corey Nakatani up, by a head, while getting the distance in 1:42.20—which earned him a Beyer Speed figure of 99.

The Kentucky-bred colt by Giant’s Causeway has improved in several areas, according to Smith.

“I really like him when I breezed him before the (Malibu Stakes) on opening day and for some reason he got really hot,” said Smith following the San Fernando win. “I hadn’t taken two steps inside the gate and he was over, and he threw me out the back (of the starting gate), and he just wasn’t right after that.

Fed Biz ended up breaking a bit slowly in the Malibu and finished sixth, beaten 6 ¼ lengths.

Sent from the gate in the San Fernando, he led in gate to wire fashion, and responded well to Smith’s commands when it counted.

“Early on, he used to be a little stubborn about switching to his right lead. Once I got him over there, he’s game, he wouldn’t let somebody by him unless they surprised him.”

It is expected that Smith could employ similar tactics on Saturday, as he’ll be facing three others who ran behind him in the San Fernando, including runner up Tritap.

Fed Biz, who is owned by Kaleem Shah, Inc., brings a record of 8-4-0-1 and earnings of $274,456 to Saturday’s Strub.

A Kentucky-bred colt by Tapit, Tritap has been a gem of consistency for Asmussen and will be seeking his first stakes victory in the Strub. He’ll again be handled by Nakatani, who rode him for the first time in the San Fernando.

“He ran his butt off,” said Nakatani following the San Fernando, in which he broke from post position nine. “We had a real good position but he also had to do quite a bit from the (post) position we had...He ran a dynamite race and it was unfortunate that we got beat.”

Owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC, Tritap sat close to Fed Biz in the San Fernando and has ample speed. Second at the distance in a first-condition allowance at Saratoga on Sept. 2, Tritap has an overall mark of 8-2-4-0, with earnings of $151,936.

In addition to Fed Biz, Baffert will also saddle Guilt Trip, who finished a half length behind Tritap in the San Fernando.

Ridden by Joe Talamo, Guilt Trip made a solid run from off the pace.

“I was tucked in,” said Talamo. “Looking back, I wish I had just circled the field. I think if I’d have gone five-wide, I don’t know if he’d have won, but he came flying. He’s a nice horse.”

Fed Biz and Guilt Trip worked six furlongs in company on Sunday for Baffert, with Guilt Trip getting the best of it, stopping the watch at 1:12 flat. Fed Biz was timed in 1:12.40 on a wet fast track.

Owned by Gary and Mary West, Guilt Trip is a lightly raced colt by Pulpit who is search of his first stakes win. He brings a record of 6-2-0-1 and earnings of $117,567 to the Strub.

Reddam Racing’s Handsome Mike pressed the San Fernando pace and weakened to finish 2 ¾ lengths behind Guilt Trip.

Trained by Doug O’Neill, Handsome Mike will again be ridden by last year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness-winning jockey, Mario Gutierrez.

A winner of the Grade II Pennsylvania Derby at 1 1/8 miles on Sept. 22, Handsome Mike, a Kentucky-bred colt by Scat Daddy, has shown ample speed in virtually all of his races. The leading money-earner coming into the Strub of $759,780, he has an overall mark of 13-2-1-1.

Fourth in the Pennsylvania Derby, Graham Motion’s Stephanoatsee was a subsequent winner of the 1 1/16 miles Barbaro Stakes on Oct. 20 at Delaware Park. Third going 1 1/8 miles in the Grade III Discovery Handicap on Nov. 17 at Aqueduct, Stephanoatsee has the look of a deep closer—a style that could be flattered by the abundance of speed signed up for the Strub.

Owned by My Meadowview Farm, Stephanoatsee will be ridden for the first time by Julien Leparoux on Saturday. With a record of 8-3-2-1, he has earnings of $213,000.

The 66th running of the Strub Stakes, which has been carded as the eighth on a 10-race card Saturday, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Shadow Runner, Garrett Gomez, 118; Fed Biz, Mike Smith, 123; Guilt Trip, Joe Talamo, 118; Tritap, Corey Nakatani, 118; Groovin’ Solo, Alonso Quinonez, 118; Handsome Mike, Mario Gutierrez, 123, and Stephanoatsee, Julien Leparoux, 118.



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Older Comments about Fed Biz Favored in Strub Stakes...

:) Guilt Trip.
Here here Yukichan, I second that
Handsome Mike
This race used to be a MAJOR early season confrontation of the best of the west and east's 4 year olds. Sadly it is a far far cry from that today.
I love Fed Biz but I do think Guilt Trip will turn the tables.
Stephanoatsee, Fed Biz, Tritap
Guilt Trip, Stephanoatsee, Tritap, Fed Biz.

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