Sweeping into the lead at the top of the stretch with an effortless move, Nysos remained undefeated and gave Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert a record-extending sixth straight victory in Saturday’s $200,000 Robert B. Lewis (G3) for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita Park.
Ridden with the utmost assurance by Flavien Prat, Nysos relaxed in fourth, never more than three lengths off the lead, as Scatify was prompted by Wine Me Up through early fractions of 23.81 and 46.67 seconds over a fast track.
Given his cue by Prat approaching the far turn, the bay son of Nyquist cut inside Mc Vay and then rolled three-wide past the leaders and, despite being geared down through the final yards, hit the wire 7 ½ lengths clear of his stablemate, Wine Me Up.
His winning time for the mile was 1:36.65.
“I didn’t give (Prat) any instructions; he rode him with a lot of confidence,” said Baffert, who recorded his 12th overall win in the race. “When you can sit there and push a button at any time, it makes it easier for the jockey.”
Following Wine Me Up under the wire were Scatify, Mc Vay, Moonlit Sonata, Better Than Gold and Ace of Clubs.
The 1-9 favorite, Nysos returned $2.20 for a $2 win wager and earned $120,000, boosting his bankroll to $210,600 for the Baoma Corp, which purchased him last April for $550,000.
The win was the first of the year and the first around two turns for Nysos, who counted a 10 ½-length maiden victory going 6 furlongs and an 8 ¾-length win in the 7-furlong Bob Hope (G3) on his resume as a 2-year-old. All told, his margin of victory in three starts is 26 ¾ lengths.
The Robert B. Lewis, which is followed on California’s Road to the Kentucky Derby by the March 2 San Felipe (G2) and Santa Anita Derby (G1) on April 4, offered 42 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the first five finishers. However, the 30 points available to the winner and runner-up went unclaimed, as horses trained by Baffert are ineligible to race at Churchill Downs stemming from the disqualification of Medina Spirit from the 2021 Derby.
Baffert, whose first win in the Robert B. Lewis came in 1999 with General Challenge, began his current streak with Mucho Gusto in 2019, followed by Thousand Words, the aforementioned Medina Spirit, Messier, and Newgate, one of four Baffert horses in the four-horse race.
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