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Free Sham Stakes Past Performances (2019)

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Free Sham Stakes past performances for Saturday, January 5, 2019

Baffert Has Coliseum, Much Better for Sham

Santa Anita will host the second race of 2019 on the Road to the Kentucky Derby where a field of seven will go postward for the $100,000 Sham Stakes (G3) for three-year-old Kentucky Derby hopefuls.

At even money in the morning line, Coliseum will try to make it two in a row after his debut win at Del Mar in November. Trained by Bob Baffert for Godolphin, LLC, the son of Tapit by the Menifee mare Game Face, is one of two of the latest young runners entered for the Sham by the Hall of Fame trainer who is seeking his third Kentucky Derby winner in five years, and his sixth overall going back to 1997 when Silver Charm wore the Roses for Baffert.

Much Better, trained by Baffert for Three Chimneys Farms, won on debut at Del Mar in September before trying turf in subsequent starts. In October, going one mile at Santa Anita, he tired to finish second as the pacesetter before failing to make his presence known in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, which incidentally was run over a yielding course. He’s back on dirt for the Sham and expect him to make amends for his connections.

Baffer first won the Sham in 2001 with Wild and Wise and has since won it in 2006 with Bob and John, in 2014 with Midnight Hawk, in 2016 with Collected, and again in 2018 with McKinzie. But note, none of those names were called first across the finish line on the first Saturday in May of their respective years.

Kentucky Derby Prep Race Points will be distributed on a 10-4-2-1 basis to the first four finishers in the Sham Stakes.

Sham Stakes Odds, Analysis

1 Sueno (20-1) — Runner is on a two-race-win-streak, having done enough for trainer Desormeaux to call on the other half of the cajun connection to see if the “dream” is real or just pie in the sky for “sueno” after taking the one-mile Gold Rush at Golden Gate on the fake stuff last time out. And I’ll eat the proverbial “humble pie” if his namesake becomes a reality in here.

2 Gray Magician (4-1) — Connections switched barns to give him his first victory in four starts last time out at Del Mar. It’s hard to win next out after maiden score but he was so impressive after changing hands that it’s hard to not see him contesting from the start. Lukewarm odds adds intrigue.

3 Savagery (10-1) — Blinkers back on after a hood-free trip last time out in the Los Alamitos Futurity where, in usual fashion, he pressed the pace before tiring to finish fourth of six. Gets the benefit of Rosario on his back for the first time and the cutback in distance should help him progress. Will it be enough? Probably not.

4 Easy Shot (30-1) — One of two for trainer Desormeaux but this one doesn’t get the other half of the cajun connection in the saddle. However, he does get a top jock in Bejarano who is slowly making his way back to form on the circuit. Still, tough to consider any chance of building off his maiden score last time out. It was his fourth career try and could have been claimed for $80K from that one.

5 Coliseum (1-1) — The “now horse” in the Baffert barn for this race won on debut in easy fashion at Del Mar going 7/8s. Sitting on three bullets perfectly spaced and appears to be ready for big things.

6 Gunmetal Gray (5-2) — Second choice with HOF jockey Smith in the irons for the first time in what will be his fifth start. Won at second asking going one mile at Del Mar and was runnerup in the G1 American Pharoah next time out behind the Baffert trainee and current favorite for Kentucky Derby 2019, Game Winner. Making his first start after breaking his maiden, Gunmetal Gray bobbled at the start in the AP before gaining his composure and finishing a length in front of the third place finisher. Breaking from post eleven in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and facing eventual winner Game Winner once more, he raced wide for most of the race before finishing a very good fifth. He won’t have the Derby favorite to beat this time but he will have to beat Baffert if he’s going progress on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. Will need help on the front-end to get up in time.

7 Much Better (6-1) — See up top for comments on this guy.

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