San Felipe Stakes

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San Felipe Stakes

San Felipe Stakes Race Facts

  • Location: Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, CA
  • Inaugural Race: 1935
  • Current Distance: 1 1/16 miles
  • Track Type: Left-Handed Dirt
  • Age Qualifications: Three-year-olds
  • Status: Grade 2
  • 2024 Purse: $300,000
  • 2024 Race Date: Sunday, March 3rd

The San Felipe Stakes is a Grade II race for 3-year-olds run at 1 1/16 miles in March at Santa Anita Park. The race has been run at that distance since the 1950’s, and it serves as a qualifying race on the Kentucky Derby trail. Winners are awarded 50-25-15-10-5 points.

2024 San Felipe Stakes Race Results

Lanfranco Dettori / Bob Baffert
$3.80 / $2.40
Wine Me Up
Juan J. Hernandez / Bob Baffert
Mc Vay
Antonio Fresu / John A. Shirreffs
Hector Isaac Berrios / John W. Sadler

Exotic Payoffs:

  • $1 Exacta (5-2) Paid: $4.00
  • $1 Trifecta (5-2-4) Paid: $10.60

Watch the 2023 San Felipe Stakes

The History of the San Felipe Stakes

Founded in 1935, the San Felipe Stakes didn’t become a 3-year-olds only race until 1941. Nowadays it’s one of the key 3-year-old races in the early spring in California.

The race is in the first part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby Championship series. The first five home are given points on a 50-20-15-10-5 basis, and the 50 points earned by the winner should ensure they get a start in the Kentucky Derby.

In the last 20 years some superior horses have won the San Felipe and gone on to some strong finishes in the Triple Crown races. California Chrome (2014) is the most notable, winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. Fusaichi Pegasus (2000) won the Derby and was 2nd in the Preakness. Free House was one of the best California-breds ever, and he went on to finish in the money in all three Triple Crown races but just missed winning. Point Given (2001) won the Preakness and Belmont Stakes after finishing 5th in the Derby. Pioneer of the Nile (2009) was 2nd in the Derby, and Dortmond (2015) finished 3rd in the Derby. Medaglia d’Oro (2002), the sensational sire won finished 1st of 2nd in 15 of 17 starts with a 2nd in the Belmont, only missed the money in the Derby and Preakness. He did win some major races following the San Felipe including the Travers, Jim Dandy, Whitney and Don Handicap while also finished 2nd twice in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. More recently, 2020 winner Authentic went on to capture a win at that years Derby in route to a 3-year-old Championship season.

Going back further, Affirmed won the San Felipe on his way to completing the Triple Crown in 1978. A decade later, another all-time great Sunday Silence used his San Felipe victory as a springboard to Triple Crown trail glory, winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and just coming up short in the Belmont Stakes.

Another great San Felipe Champion that never got the chance to realize his potential was 2017 winner Mastery. He came to the wire gliding effortlessly in the San Felipe, winning by nearly 7 lengths on his way to becoming the Kentucky Derby favorite following his 4th win in four starts. He had just earned the faster Beyer Speed Figure (105) by any 3-year-old in 2017, butt tragedy struck Mastery just beyond the finish line. Jockey Mike Smith pulled Master up and leapt off his back. Mastery was subsequently found to have a condylar fracture of his left front cannon bone (broken ankle), an injury that would end his career. Doctors saved his life, but the excitement, potential and racing career for this well-bred colt born on Kentucky Derby Day three-years earlier was over. Bob Baffert, who notched his then-record 6th win at the San Felipe after Mastery routed his rivals, no longer had his next Triple Crown trail contender. Since that year, Baffert has won the race three times (back to back wins in 2020 and 2021 and 2024) to pad his record to 9 total wins.

The San Felipe has produced some great champions, and it’s also a race won most often by the very best horses in the field. Few if any long shots, even greater than 7-1, have come through to win the San Felipe Stakes in the past 30 years.

San Felipe Stakes Past Winners

Jockey / Trainer
Distance / Time
Lanfranco Dettori / Bob Baffert
1 1/16 miles / 1:44.55
Practical Move
Ramon A. Vazquez / Tim Yakteen
1 1/16 miles / 1:42.01
Forbidden Kingdom
Juan J. Hernandez / Richard E. Mandella
1 1/16 miles / 1:43.96
Life Is Good
Mike E. Smith / Bob Baffert
1 1⁄16 miles / 1:42.18
Drayden Van Dyke / Bob Baffert
1 1⁄16 miles / 1:43.56
no race
Bolt d'Oro
Javier Castellano / Mick Ruis
1 1⁄16 miles / 1:42.71
Mike E. Smith / Bob Baffert
1 1⁄16 miles / 1:42.28
Danzing Candy
Mike E. Smith / Clifford W. Sise Jr.
1 1⁄16 miles / 1:43.04
Martin Garcia / Bob Baffert
1 1⁄16 miles / 1:41.65