A.P. Warrior Victorious at San Felipe
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) _ A.P. Warrior beat a pair of powerhouses from Bob Baffert’s barn in the $250,000 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday, giving trainer John Shirreffs an unexpected contender for his second straight Kentucky Derby victory.
A $1.3 million purchase who had disappointed in six previous races, A.P. Warrior was making his first start for Shirreffs, who trained 2005 Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo.
Baffert’s Point Determined was second in his stakes debut and stablemate and heavy favorite Bob and John was forced to go five-wide on the final turn and had to rally to hold on for third.
Bob and John, owned by Houston Texans owner Bob McNair, had been Baffert’s top Kentucky Derby prospect coming into the race.
A.P. Warrior had finished fourth in his two stakes starts for trainer Eoin Harty, and hadn’t won since an allowance race in early November.
Ridden by Corey Nakatani, the son of A.P. Indy was sixth in the early going of the Grade II San Felipe, and challenged the leaders four-wide on the turn. He took a one-length lead at the top of the stretch and won by a half-length, covering 1 1-16 miles in 1:42 2-5.
A.P. Warrior paid $17, $7.40 and $3.60. Point Determined paid $5.20 and $3. Bob and John paid $2.40 to show.
Bob and John had a terrible trip. He was bumped just out of the gate and was next-to-last in the field of nine in the early going. He appeared to be making a strong move going into the final turn, but after going five-wide was never a threat to win in the stretch.
Point Determined and Bob and John will remain on the Derby trail for Baffert, who won the race three times from 1997-2002.
Point Determined is owned by Beverly Lewis and the estate of Bob Lewis, the two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer who died earlier this year.
It was A.P. Warrior’s third win in six starts. He more than doubled his lifetime bankroll, earning $150,000 for a lifetime total of $287,185. He is owned by Stan Fulton.
A third Baffert entry, Sky Diving, finished last.