By Dick Downey
Santa Anita Photo
In only his second career start, Flashback easily dispatched a short field in the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes.
Coming off a debut win as the even-money favorite going seven furlongs at Hollywood Park on Dec. 8, Flashback raced two turns on conventional dirt for the first time and looked good doing it.
Going into the first turn and up the backstretch, Flashback and Julien Leparoux had a narrow advantage while being pressed by He's Had Enough. Den's Legacy was third while Little Jerry trailed in the field of four.
Rouding the second bend, Flashback began pulling away, and the race was over. He prevailed by 6 1/4 lengths after Den's Legacy got the best of He's Had Enough in upper stretch. Those two ran together to the wire, with Den's Legacy a half-length better. Little Jerry finished last.
The 1 1/16-mile race was timed in 1:42.95. Flashback, the 1-2 favorite, paid $3.00 to win and $2.40 to place. There was no show pool.
The Lewis, a race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, resulted in 10 points to Flashback, four to Den's Legacy, two to He's Had Enough and one to Little Jerry.
From the Lewis $200,000 purse, Gary and Mary West, owners of Flashback, picked up $120,000.
The West's purchased Flashback, a gray son of Tapit, for $260,000 at Keeneland in November 2010. He's out of Rhumb Line, a daughter of Mr. Greeley, and was bred in Kentucky by William G. Andrade M.D. and Michael E. Hernon.
Bob Baffert: Asked if he wished the Kentucky Derby was tomorrow: “No, he’s not ready yet. We were hoping he would do something like that, but when a horse came to him, he pinned his ears a little bit. He’s still pretty green. You can actually put him wherever you want him.
“They were going pretty slow early, but I think he’ll get something out of that race. As far as distance, it’s not a problem. He has speed; he has tactical speed, but I don’t think he’s the kind of horse that needs to be on the lead or anything like that.
“Right now, I don’t know (the next race). I’ll speak with Gary, we’ll just figure out a plan for him and just keep him healthy. That’s the main plan right now. Right now I can’t think that far ahead. I just have to keep him healthy and keep him going forward. We knew he was a special horse, and to win the Robert B. Lewis is really a sentimental win for me, because he was one of the greatest owners in the sport. It brings back a lot of good memories.
“I want to thank Gary and Mary West for putting a monster like this in my lap. It makes it more fun when you have a horse like this.”
Julien Leparoux: “I think he’s still a little green, it was an easy race, we won easy, and this is a nice horse. If he keeps improving, I think he has a bright future. He was great changing leads, even on the backside he switched to his right lead right away. I had no problem with that. I think he will improve off this race, and I can’t wait to ride him next time out. Many thanks to Bob Baffert and the owner. It’s a pleasure to ride these kind of horses.”
Garrett Gomez, aboard Den's Legacy: “I just wanted to get away in good shape. I outbroke (Flashback) but we all know the gray horse is faster than my horse. We got up there but the gray horse set his own fractions and was able to go slow enough. It’s kind of hard to outkick a nice horse, especially when you go 48 and change.”
Mario Gutierriz, aboard He's Had Enough; “Oh yeah, we had a good trip. He was running comfortable and the pace wasn’t that bad. We did what we had to do--we pressured, we pressured, we pressured and were waiting to sprint at the end, and we just didn’t have it. Everything went pretty good--no trouble or anything. He ran his race.
“The horse has a good future. There’s just a lot of speculation from the public. But what are the odds for the same owner, same trainer and same jockey to do it again? It’s more than 100 to 1. But we’re trying, and the horse is good, and he ran good today.”