Saturday's Grade 2, $300,000 San Felipe at Santa Anita lost its 8-5 morning line favorite when Bayern was scratched Thursday with a bruised hoof. But the 1 1/16-mile test still offers plenty of intrigue as part of the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" scoring series, offering points on a 50-20-10-5 scale to the top four finishers.
In Bayern's absence, another promising colt being tested for class, California Chrome, could inherit favoritism. Conditioned by Art Sherman, the Lucky Pulpit colt exits a pair of sharp stakes wins over California-bred foes, taking the seven-furlong King Glorious by 6 ¼ lengths prior to a 5 ½-length score in the 1 1/16-mile California Cup Derby on January 25. His BRIS Speed ratings rose significantly in those starts and the improving chestnut retains the services of Victor Espinoza.
Midnight Hawk will look to make amends for a third in the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis as the favorite. After opening his racing career with a 6 ¼-length maiden win in mid-December, the Baffert charge captured the Grade 3 Sham on January 11. Mike Smith, who has been up for all three starts aboard the speedy colt, rides.
Kristo has been freshened off a runner-up in the Sham. After dropping his first two starts in sprints, the Distorted Humor colt found his best form around two turns, recording a 6 ¾-length maiden tally, and the John Sadler trainee will receive an interesting jockey switch to Joel Rosario.
Unstoppable Colby invades for D. Wayne Lukas following a maiden win at Oaklawn Park and Schoolofhardrocks will make his first appearance for David Hofmans since capturing his career debut at Del Mar. Home Run Kitten exits a fifth in the Lewis and Recanted will go turf to dirt for Doug O'Neill in his second U.S. start. A pair of maidens, Rprettyboyfloyd and Sawyer's Hill, complete the field.