No Kentucky Derby points, but Newgate wins Bob Lewis

No Kentucky Derby points, but Newgate wins Bob Lewis
Photo: Alex Evers / Eclipse Sportswire

Bob Baffert couldn’t lose.

The trainer of all four horses in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita, the white-haired Hall of Famer watched favored Newgate gradually get the best of long shot Hard to Figure in winning by a neck under Frankie Dettori while getting 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.11.

Under considerable restraint while last by about 2 1/2 lengths heading to the far turn, Newgate ambled alongside leaders Arabian Lion and Hard to Figure leaving the quarter pole and under aggressive handling from Dettori, got the job done in getting his first graded stakes win.

“We had good pace in the race, we came back in good time,” said Dettori, who was aboard Newgate for the second consecutive time today. “Today, we moved sharper and we beat some good horses. He was a little slow with his lead changes, but he ran well.”

Most recently second, beaten a neck in the Sham Stakes (G3) going a flat mile here on Jan. 8, Newgate was off at even money and paid $4.00 and $2.60 with no show wagering.

“Frankie Dettori has been teaching him how to just sit back, relax and come with a punch and that’s what he did today,” said Baffert. “…Newgate, before when we were sending him, he wasn’t finishing. I wasn’t sure how far he wanted to go…I was actually nervous before the race, worried that something weird might happen, but I can relax now.”

An $850,000 Keeneland September yearling by Into Mischief out of the Majestic Warrior mare Majestic Presence, Newgate is owned by SF Racing, LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, et al.

With the winner’s share of $120,000, Newgate increased his earnings to $241,975 and improved his overall mark to 6:2-2-0.

Hard to Figure, who broke sharply while adding blinders from his outside post, pressured Arabian Lion to the furlong marker and gave way grudgingly late in a big effort.

Ridden by Ramon Vazquez and off at 12-1, Hard to Figure paid $5.20 to place while finishing 1 3/4 lengths in front of Worcester.

For his part, Worcester, off as the third choice at 5-2 with Juan Hernandez, sat third to the quarter pole and finished 3 ¼ lengths better than Arabian Lion.

Fractions on the race were 23.87, 47.76, 1:11.98 and 1:36.65.

Because of an ongoing Churchill Downs suspension that he has been fighting in court, Baffert is not eligible to send horses for the Kentucky Derby, so all the qualifying points from this race were vacated.

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