The 2023 San Felipe Stakes (G2) happens Saturday, March 4, at Santa Anita in Arcadia, California! It is the second-to-last points prep on the Southern California spur of the Kentucky Derby trail and the first one that offers its winner a virtually guaranteed spot in the Kentucky Derby. The race offers 50-20-15-10-5 Road to the Kentucky Derby points to its top five finishers and a rich $400,000 purse.
Eleven top three-year-old colts and geldings will line up to vie for these spoils. They include stakes winners like Practical Move and the surface-switching Chase the Chaos, along with others who are still trying to wrest the spotlight as one of the major Derby prospects in California.
The San Felipe has a long history of producing classy horses. Triple Crown winner Affirmed (1978) won this race on the way to that glory, as did Kentucky Derby winners Sunday Silence (1989), Fusaichi Pegasus (2000), California Chrome (2014), and Authentic (2020). Other recent stars to win the race include Point Given (2001), Bolt d’Oro (2018), and Life Is Good (2021).
San Felipe Stakes 2023 Information
Race Date: Saturday, March 4, 2023
Track: Santa Anita Park
Post Time: 2:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time
Distance: 1 1/16 miles
Where to Watch: FanDuel TV
Where to Bet: TVG.com and FanDuel Racing
San Felipe Stakes Odds
This is the field for the 2023 San Felipe stakes including post positions, trainers, jockeys, and morning lines. In addition to announcing morning lines on Thursday, March 2, Santa Anita also published the scratch of Crypto Ride from the race.
||Chase the Chaos
||Ed Moger, Jr.
||Bluegrass Go Go
||Geaux Rocket Ride
Note that trainer Tim Yakteen enters 5 of the 11 horses. One of them, Practical Move, has been in the Yakteen barn all along. The other four (National Treasure, Hejazi, Fort Bragg, and Mr Fisk) were previously in the barn of Bob Baffert but moved before the San Felipe. This is because Bob Baffert is in his second of two years of ineligibility for the Kentucky Derby, and his horses had to be moved to eligible barns by February 28 to be able to make the Derby at all. This is the same barn that Baffert’s most important three-year-old prospects, including Taiba and Messier, moved to in 2022.
San Felipe Stakes Prep Results
The 11 horses in the San Felipe come out of 10 different races. The only race that sends out two next-out starters is the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) on Dec. 17. Winner Practical Move returns for his three-year-old debut in the San Felipe, as does Fort Bragg, who finished a well-beaten third off of a troubled trip.
The only last-out stakes winner other than Practical Move is Chase the Chaos, who won the listed El Camino Real over the Golden Gate Tapeta in his last start. National Treasure is the only other one who comes out of stakes company; he most recently finished a one-length third in the Sham behind Reincarnate, who just finished third in the Rebel (G2).
The only other runner to come out of a race against winners is Crypto Ride, who last finished third in a $50,000 starter-optional claiming dirt sprint at Santa Anita. Geaux Rocket Ride and Hejazi come out of maiden special weight dirt sprint wins at Santa Anita, while Skinner and Mr Fisk were last seen winning maiden special weight dirt miles. Genius Jimmy also broke his maiden in special weight company last out, though it came at 1 1/8 miles on the lawn. Bluegrass Go Go, the only maiden in the field, was last seen finishing second in a maiden optional claiming dirt sprint.
San Felipe Stakes Contenders
These are the contenders in the 2023 San Felipe Stakes, organized by post position:
Chase the Chaos: He romped in an allowance at Golden Gate and backed that up with a smart victory in the El Camino Real, suggesting he is improving. He also has tactical speed. But, now, he has a tough inside post in a big field, and he still has to prove himself on dirt for the first time. That said, his trainer knows how to surprise on the biggest stages: Ed Moger, Jr. trains Stilleto Boy, a graded stakes winner who has run second in the Pegasus World Cup (G1) twice. So, he could find exotics at a price.
National Treasure: He has not won since his debut in a maiden special weight in September, but he keeps getting pieces: he has been either second or third in graded stakes in all three starts since, including a third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). He has tactical speed, two-turn form, and a credible finish in both Santa Anita tries. Trusting him for the win may be tough at short odds, but keying him underneath in exotics looks like a smart move, given his consistency.
Practical Move: The one Tim Yakteen horse who has been in that barn all along, he surprised all the regular Bafferts in the Los Alamitos Futurity last out, stalking the pace and winning by open lengths — in his first time crossing the wire first, no less. His one Santa Anita race was credible, too; he ran a good second after a tough start and placed first after Fort Bragg was taken down. The only concern is whether he needs the start, though Yakteen’s record first off a lay suggests Practical Move may be ready.
Bluegrass Go Go: One of the likely longest shots on the board, he has yet to break his maiden in three tries. That includes an optional claiming maiden race, a race in which horses either had to sell for $150,000 or less at auction or be up for a tag. (He sold for $30,000 as a short yearling, so at least he was protected.) This is a sharp step up, though, and given his sprint-to-middle-distance breeding that move would be a surprise
Genius Jimmy: He was well beaten in a dirt race on debut and found his way on grass, graduating last out a 1 1/8 miles on the Santa Anita lawn. So, stamina will be no problem. The question is dirt, though he does have some dirt pedigree. It also stands out that Michael McCarthy runs him here, as he is a trainer whose runners tend to be well-meant in ambitious spots. Pace is the question, though; he did his best by far with an uncontested lead, which he won’t get here.
Crypto Ride: He has been declared an early scratch from the San Felipe.
Hejazi: His auction price raised eyebrows: $3.55 million as a two-year-old. He finally broke his maiden fourth-out last month, though he did clunk in for a third-place finish in the American Pharoah (G1) last year. His last three races all came in fast enough to fit here, and he keeps jockey Mike Smith. The biggest question is pace; his one win came the one time he got the early lead, and he won’t be alone.
Geaux Rocket Ride: He has something to prove, going straight from a debut maiden win to a Kentucky Derby prep. However, just the fact that he is trained by Richard Mandella is a positive because Mandella doesn’t tend to make such moves unless his horses are live. His only problem, just as with several others in this field, is that he broke his maiden on the front end and hasn’t proven he can stalk, though he should at least be at the outside of the speed.
Fort Bragg: He showed promise last year, breaking his maiden at third asking over the same course and distance as this race, though he had early trouble in the Los Alamitos Futurity and finished a well-beaten third. He has been off for two and a half months since that outing; the one-month gap in works from late December to late January is a concern, though at least he has some consistent and sharp drills over the last month.
Skinner: He tried graded stakes as a juvenile last year, though truly put it together after getting a freshening and returned to the maiden ranks on February 12. He did so at a mile at Santa Anita, but his pedigree suggests time and distance will only help, giving him lots of upside going forward. And, he proved in that maiden-breaker that he can pass horses — a big positive with no shortage of speed in this field.
Mr Fisk: It took him three tries to break his maiden, and it’s a positive that his better two efforts came in two-turn races. It’s also good he can pass horses because this race has a surplus of speed. However, he needs to take a significant step up from that form to hold his own against these more class-tested foes, not to mention he must do so from a challenging far-outside post.
San Felipe Stakes Past Winners Past Performances
San Felipe winners tend to come out of stakes races, though there is no single stakes race that provides a preponderance of the winners of the last race. (The last 10 runnings of this date back to 2012, as the San Felipe was skipped in 2019 due to track issues at Santa Anita.) The Sham (G3) and the San Vicente (G2) lead the charge with two apiece: Authentic (2020) and Life Is Good (2021) both won the Sham, while Forbidden Kingdom (2022) won the San Vicente and Creative Cause (2012) was third.
Three of the five other winners who came from stakes came out of three-year-old races: Dortmund (2015) won the Robert B. Lewis (G3), California Chrome (2014) won the state-bred California Cup Derby, and Hear the Ghost (2013) was second in the listed San Pedro. Two others came out of juvenile races. Mastery (2017) was last seen winning the Los Alamitos Futurity, while Bolt d’Oro was third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1).
The only recent winner to come out of a non-stakes engagement was Danzing Candy (2016). He came into the San Felipe out of an allowance win and made his stakes debut in the San Felipe.
San Felipe Stakes Undercard
The San Felipe Stakes is the sixth race on Saturday’s 12-race card at Santa Anita. It is one of the biggest cards of the meet, featuring four stakes races. In addition to the San Felipe, the card features the $500,000 Santa Anita Handicap (G1) for older dirt routers, the $500,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1) for older turf milers, and the $200,000 Buena Vista (G2) for filly and mare turf milers. The card features classy racing and solid fields all day long, making Saturday an excellent day to watch on FanDuel TV and wager through FanDuel and TVG!
Santa Anita Park
Santa Anita Park began as a part of Rancho Santa Anita. After a series of owners, it was acquired by horse breeder Lucky Baldwin, who built the original Santa Anita Park in 1904. That facility closed in 1909 after a California law banning racetrack gambling, and it burned down in 1912. Horse racing became legal again in California in 1933, after which the Los Angeles Turf Club was formed. They built a new track, the present Santa Anita, which opened on Christmas Day in 1934.
Santa Anita’s main track is a one-mile dirt oval. The turf track inside of it is a 0.9-mile grass oval. A unique feature of that Santa Anita turf track is the downhill course, which juts out to the northwest over the far turn, crosses over the dirt, and then joins the turf oval. Santa Anita runs 6 1/2-furlong turf sprints over that course and also uses it as a start for some of its longer turf routes.
San Felipe Stakes FAQ
Q: When is the San Felipe Stakes?
A: The 2023 San Felipe Stakes will be run Saturday, March 4, at 2:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. It is the sixth of twelve races at Santa Anita that day.
Q: Where is the San Felipe Stakes?
A: It takes place at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.
Q: Which trainer has the most wins in the San Felipe Stakes?
A: Trainer Bob Baffert has the most wins in the San Felipe with eight, most recently in 2021 with Life Is Good. Baffert is disqualified from the Kentucky Derby trail this year, and his horses had to be moved to other barns by February 28 to qualify. Therefore, there are four runners in this year’s San Felipe who were trained by Baffert until recently but just moved to the barn of Tim Yakteen: National Treasure, Hejazi, Fort Bragg, and Mr Fisk.
Q: Who is the favorite for the 2023 San Felipe Stakes?
A: The likely favorite for the 2023 San Felipe Stakes is National Treasure, a horse who has not yet won a graded stakes but has hit the board in three important ones, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He was named the 3-1 morning line favorite. However, Los Alamitos Futurity winner Practical Move may be in that conversation as the only last-out graded stakes winner in the field and was named the 4-1 second choice on the morning line.
Q: Who is the best San Felipe Stakes jockey?
A: Jockey Chris McCarron has won the San Felipe the most times: seven, between 1982 and 1998, with that last win coming with star sprinter Artax. Among jockeys riding in this year’s edition, Mike Smith leads with three wins, which all came between 2016 and 2021. Smith takes the reins on Hejazi this year.
Q: Who won the 2022 San Felipe Stakes?
A: Forbidden Kingdom won the San Felipe in 2022 for trainer Richard Mandella and jockey Juan Hernandez. Mandella sends out Geaux Rocket Ride with Flavien Prat in the irons, while Hernandez rides Fort Bragg for Tim Yakteen.