Recent trends in the San Felipe Stakes

March 2nd, 2022

The $400,000 San Felipe S. (G2), which will be run Saturday at Santa Anita, has a recent history (2010 onwards) that's been slightly different than other races we've explored this week, like the Gotham (G3) and Fountain of Youth (G2).

One item worth noting is that the 2010 San Felipe was the last run on Santa Anita's old synthetic surface, another that the 2019 edition was cancelled when racing was suspended at the track for a period of time so that it could undergo maintenance.

Therefore, here are trends relating to the last 11 editions of the race.

Baffert is king

It should come as no surprise that trainer Bob Baffert has dominated the San Felipe of late. He's won four of the last six editions of the race, including the last two years with eventual Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Authentic and Life Is Good.

Indeed, if not for McKinzie being disqualified and placed second behind Bolt d'Oro in the 2018 running of the race, Baffert would have four wins in a row and five of the last six.

San Vicente has been a productive prep

Prior to the recent Baffert surge, the seven-furlong San Vicente (G2) served as a slightly better prep for the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe than some of Santa Anita's earlier two-turn fixtures. Sidney's Candy, Premier Pegasus, and Creative Cause were all San Vicente alumni when they registered wins from 2010 through 2012, respectively. 

However, in the last decade, San Vicente winners have tended to either ship out for their next starts or have been kept at bay by Baffert's San Felipe winners, who last ran in races like the Sham (G3), Robert B. Lewis (G3), and Los Alamitos Futurity (G1).

Prior stakes success a plus

Boding well for Saturday starters Forbidden Kingdom and Cabo Spirit is that the San Felipe has tended to be the domain of horses who have already notched wins in one or more stakes.

Since 2010, only two horses have counted the San Felipe as their first stakes victory. Hear the Ghost won in 2013 in just his third career start, one race after finishing second in the six-furlong San Pedro S. In 2016, Danzing Candy won the San Felipe in his stakes debut following impressive maiden and allowance scores.