The Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes is a major local prep for the Santa Anita Derby, with nine hopefuls facing the starter including 13-10 favorite St. Averil. 8-1 shot Odds On made the running early, through fractions of 23.39 and 46.82 before weakening. 9-1 shot Preachinatthebar, who had stalked the pace early, inherited the lead on the turn and pulled away, getting the jump on the favorite and running 1 1/2 lengths clear with a furlong to go. St. Averil came out three wide and closed willingly but Preachinatthebar held him off to win by a nose in 1:42.87 for the 1 1/16 mile event. It was a long 4 1/2 lengths back to 20-1 longshot Harvard Avenue in third. 5-2 second choice and Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Action This Day was never in contention, stalking the pace to the inside early and coming out in the stretch but had no rally. Results Chart
Winning jockey Javier Santiago said, "I don't know who to choose between Wimbledon and this horse. Bob Baffert told me it's my choice. It was the way we planned it, being close to the pace. Baffert wanted the other horse on the lead. I had a relaxed position coming to the first turn, and I saw the horse (Laditude, who stumbled and lost his rider) coming in inside of me, and my horse got bumped and took off on me. I had to gear him down again, and continue riding my own race." SFelipeWCs
Winning trainer Bob Baffert said, "I was taking my time with him. He was a little bit late coming around but he ran like we thought he would. This horse finally did it. I thought he was going to run a big race. I'm just happy for (owner) Mike Pegram. It's been a little dry for us lately but I told him I still have a lot of faith in this horse. He's starting to fill out and you don't know how exciting it is to win a stake with (a) Silver Charm. He's going to be a great sire. I love that horse."
Rafael Becerra, trainer of beaten favorite St. Averil, said, "He ran good. He missed some work due to the rainy weather and that might have cost him, but outside of not winning, I'm very happy. I'll talk it over with Mr. [Stan, owner] Fulton and we'll decide what's next."
61-1 longshot Laditude stumbled at the start and dumped jockey Mike Smith, but continued to completed the race, interfering with Action This Day on the first turn. Richard Mandella, trainer of seventh-placed finisher Action This Day, said, "When he went into the first turn there was some jamming and he's got a big gash behind his ankle on his right hind leg. We just have to hope it's not too bad."
The Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks saw the sophomore debut of undefeated champion Halfbridled. With regular rider Julie Krone out with an injury, Gary Stevens inherited the mount for trainer Richard Mandella. The public respected Halfbridled's unblemished record, sending her off at 1-2 odds in the field of seven.
36-1 longshot Salty Romance was loose on the lead early, taking the field through a half in 46.49 and 3/4 in 1:10.82, as 7-1 shot Silent Sighs gave chase. Stevens kept Halfbridled in a stalking position in fourth, saving ground on the inside. 3-1 second choice A.P. Adventure was wide throughout but always in contention. Turning for home, the pacesetter succumbed to her fast fractions and gave way, as stalker Silent Sighs gained the lead. Halfbridled split rivals at the top of the stretch and gave chase, but Silent Sighs had stretched her lead to two lengths with a furlong to go and easily held off Halfbridled at the wire, to win by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:42.84 for the 1 1/16 mile event. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to A.P. Adventure. Results Chart
Winning jockey David Flores said, "I was confident all the way from the first part of the race, I was very comfortable. When I was set to go I could feel everybody start pushing, so I just saved a little more, then at the quarter pole I went after them. She didn't change her lead, but she just kept running. I was patient, I knew there was a lot of speed in the race. I just tried to run my own race, and it worked out good."
Jockey Gary Stevens aboard beaten favorite Halfbridled said, "No excuses. I've never ridden her before and we were in a little tight around the first turn and she didn't like it inside, but I never got a chance to get her out. I knew I was beat when we turned into the stretch. That other filly (Silent Sighs) wasn't stopping and my filly wasn't accelerating enough to get there, but she was sure trying. She ran a gallant race." Trainer Richard Mandella said she would go next in the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland on April 30.
Alex Solis who rode third place finisher A.P. Adventure said, "She's still learning. I think we're going to try to put the blinkers on her. I think it's going to really help her because she was really wandering around. She's just green. She just needs more experience."