by Santa Anita Park Press Release
February 1, 2020
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 1, 2020) — “You can’t make this up.”
That, according to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, sums up his feelings in getting his 3,000th career win in today’s Grade III, $100,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita. Named in honor of one of Baffert’s best all-time clients and an important prep to both the Santa Anita and Kentucky Derbies, today’s Lewis was taken in stylish fashion by favored Thousand Words, who won by three quarters of a length while getting 1 1/16 miles under Flavien Prat in 1:43.64.
An attentive fourth at the rail, about three lengths off the lead as the field headed up the backside, Thousand Words continued to save ground to the top of the lane, when he split horses and eventually overhauled stablemate High Velocity a sixteenth of a mile out.
“He ran very well,” said Prat. “He put me in a good spot and he was comfortable down there. He took the dirt (in his face) well and when I asked him to run, he really accelerated.”
A winner of the Grade II Los Alamitos Futurity on Dec. 7, Thousand Words, who was purchased for $1 million at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, is now unbeaten in three starts and paid $3.20, $2.60 and $2.10 as the 3-5 favorite in a field of six sophomores.
“Being stuck down on the inside, he got the worst of it,” said Baffert, who also collected his record eighth Lewis win. “Usually, a young horse like that, they won’t run that well and they don’t respond, but he’s got that big long stride and the further the better with him. You could tell about the last 50 yards, he was really getting going. He came back and he wasn’t even tired, so that is a good sign. He is progressing with every race and to win three in a row like that is pretty impressive.”
Regarding his 3,000th win, Baffert, who had six horses entered today, said “I had a feeling it was gonna happen in this race. I’ve had a lot of good people work for me through the years, the first 50 wins were probably the hardest—100 were life changers. I feel very blessed and fortunate that I’ve been able to last in this business and do so well after coming from the quarter horse business.”
Owned by Albaugh Family Stables, LLC and Spendthrift Farm, LLC, Thousand Words, who is out of the Pomeroy mare Pomeroy’s Pistol, picked up $60,000 for the win, increasing his earnings to $211,000.
With the victory, Thousand Words receives 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points, while the second, third and fourth place finishers will get 4, 2, and 1 point(s) each.
Trained by Peter Eurton, Royal Act, in his first start on dirt, ran a huge race to be second, out-finishing High Velocity by a neck. Off at 18-1 with Abel Cedillo, Royal Act paid $8.60 and $4.40.
High Velocity, who set fractions of 23.65, 47.20, 1:11.44 and 1:37.14, held Tizamagician at bay by three quarters of a length and returned $2.40 to show with Joel Rosario up.
ROBERT B. LEWIS STAKES (GIII) $100,000 QUOTES
FLAVIEN PRAT, THOUSAND WORDS, WINNER: “He ran very well. He put me in a good spot and he was comfortable down there. He took the dirt (in his face) well and when I asked him to run, he really accelerated.”
ABEL CEDILLO, ROYAL ACT, SECOND: “He tried really hard and I put him in the position I wanted him to go. I was sitting perfect and when I made him move he started moving. He ran a big race.”
BOB BAFFERT, THOUSAND WORDS, WINNER: “Prat knows him pretty well, I didn’t give him any instructions. Both riders were kind of on their own. Prat says he is getting better, he was a sort of immature colt. He grinds and you gotta really work at him. Being stuck down inside he got the worst of it. Usually a young horse like that they don’t run that well and they don’t respond. He’s got that big long stride and the further the better with him. You could tell about the last 50 yards he was really getting going. He came back he wasn’t even tired so that is a good sign. He is progressing with every race and to win three in a row like that it is pretty impressive.
“I told Rosario don’t fight High Velocity if he wants to run, I really thought down the backside High Velocity was gonna steal it, he has a lot of speed and he hung in there well.( 3rd place finisher.)
“We are just happy for them and the connections. The horses showed up and ran well.”
On 3,000 wins: “I’ve always thought things happen for a reason. Running in the Bob Lewis, with a horse named Thousand Words and going for 3,000 wins. I mean you can’t make that up. I had a feeling it was gonna happen in this race, I’ve had a lot of good people work for me through the years, the first 50 wins were probably the hardest, 100 were life changers. I feel very blessed and fortunate that I’ve been able to last this in this business and do so well in this business after coming from the quarter horse business. I’ve never dreamt of coming into thoroughbreds, there was never one instant I was thinking about it. I came over with Mike Pegram and Hal Earnhardt who I still have after all these years, they are a big part of the team.”
PETER EURTON, ROYAL ACT, SECOND: “Couldn’t be more happy. He’s just kind of a grinder, he’s just that cool kind of horse that keeps giving it to you.
(On racing at San Felipe) “I think so, I’ll get with Mr. Searing and see what he wants to do. Anywhere we can get a mile and an eighth wouldn’t be a bad thing.”
NOTES: The winning owner is Albaugh Family Stables LLC and Spendthrift Farm LLC. Bob Baffert now has 3,000 North American victories.