The Royal Lodge was the first race in the new “Road to the Kentucky Derby” format that was put into place by Churchill Downs earlier this year. The Royal Lodge was won by the Irish colt, Steeler, and he became the first horse to claim points in the format. Back in the United States, several highly touted two-year-olds lined up to begin a journey that they hope will lead them to the Kentucky Derby in May. Formerly called the Norfolk Stakes, Santa Anita played host to the Grade I Frontrunner Stakes, and this race is just another in a strong lineup of races that Santa Anita is featuring as we approach the Breeders’ Cup in November.
The eleven horse field featured two of the top three horses in the HorseRacingNation.com power rankings for two-year-olds, with Know More trained by Doug O’Neill and Bob Baffert’s latest up and comer, Power Broker. As the gates, flew open, Know More pushed to the front and set a fast pace as Carving moved with him, as Power Broker settled in just behind the leaders with The Whole Deal. Those four battled up at the front as the rest of the field trailed. It’s worth noting that just past the ½ mile marker Capo Bastone was bringing up the rear of the field as the rest of the pack was relatively close together. As the field started the turn, Know More, Carving, and Power Broker remained locked up and close, while Capo Bastone was making a tremendous run and would make up eight lengths by the time they hit the top of the stretch. It was at the top of the stretch where Know More and Power Broker pulled in front of the field, but that contest didn’t last long as Power Broker found another gear and ran away from Know More. In the last 100 yards, jockey Rafael Bejarano put his head down and let his powerful two-year-old drive as he went on to a seven length victory. Know More finished second just ahead of Capo Bastone who made a tremendous close just to get into the money.
Baffert and Bejarano celebrated several times on Saturday, as the pair won three of the five grade I races on the card. Power Broker and Know More are both expected to take part in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile for males and they are early contenders for the Kentucky Derby.
To learn more about the new point format for this year’s “Road to the Kentucky Derby“, simply click on the link. Also feel free to browse the DerbyDeals.com website for great information on Kentucky Derby tickets, prep races, and fashion!