A.P. Warrior Wins San Felipe Stakes on Trainer Change: 2006 Kentucky Derby Preps
|A.P. Warrior Responds Sharply on Trainer Change to Win San Felipe Stakes
by Ultimatecapper.com Horse Handicapper Kenneth Strong
March 18, 2006 – If you’re a trainer-pattern handicapper there’s no question you had A.P Warrior to win the 69th running of the $250,000 San Felipe Stakes-G2 at Santa Anita on Saturday.
Trained by John Shirreffs, who is currently 4-for-8 with horses making their first start with him on a trainer switch, it was a newly free running A.P. Warrior who responded strongly from just off the pace of 22.79, 46.50 and 1:10.39 to take over the lead 4-wide into the stretch. He got the mile in 1:35.84 and then dug deep to hold off second choice Point Determined by half a length. The final time for the mile-and-a-sixteenth was 1:42.40.
It was a strong performance by A.P. Warrior, who rewarded his backers with excellent overlay returns of $17, $7.40, $3.60 across the board. The well-bred bay colt by A.P. Indy-Warrior Queen by Quite American was winning for the third time in seven career starts and increasing his earnings to $287,185.
Even-money favorite Bob and John, back and inside after being bumped early, came with a 5-wide run into the stretch to gain second position, but couldn’t keep it going, finishing an even third, two lengths behind Point Determined and only a nose in front of pace-presser Racketeer.
While Point Determined could improve in his next start, Racketeer bears even more watching. The bay colt by Awesome Again (Deputy Minister) out of the Skip Trial mare Noble Robyn looked superb in post parade and certainly has enough stamina in his pedigree to improve as the races get longer.
Racketeer was making only his fourth lifetime start in the San Felipe while being asked to go further than six furlongs for the first time in his life. He was also jumping way up in class from a non-winners-other-than allowance race – yet he pressed the pace throughout and gave very grudgingly under Patrick Valenzuela in the drive to finish only 2 ½- lengths behind the winner. If P Val sticks with him for his next start – watch out.
A.P. Warrior had shown flashes of talent in his previous six starts, breaking his maiden first time out at Hollywood Park as a 2-year-old and winning a one-mile allowance race by four lengths over Bob and John at Santa Anita last November, while also finishing a good second to current Kentucky Derby favorite Brother Derek in the Norfolk Stakes-G2 last October. But in his two starts previous to the San Felipe, A.P. Warrior had recorded a pair of disappointing evenly-late fourth place finishes after pulling early at $2.40-1 in the Hollywood Futurity-G1 and most recently as the even-money favorite in the El Camino Real Derby at Bay Meadows On January 29.
Post-parade players who also follow trainer patterns should have been all over A.P. Warrior – who made a gorgeous showing on the track prior to the San Felipe. If not, they’ll get another chance, and probably a price, when he takes on Brother Derek in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby-G1 on April 8.