2008 San Felipe Stakes Recap

San Felipe Stakes Recap
by Kenneth Strong of Predictem.com

Georgie Boy flails down stretch in first route try to best Gayego in San Felipe

March 15, 2008 Favored Georgie Boy won his third stakes in a row on Saturday with a late outside surge in the 71st running of the $200,000 San Felipe Stakes-G2 at Santa Anita.

Stalking a slow pressured pace from the inside through fractions of 24.24, 48.75, 1:13.02 under jockey Michael Baze, Georgie Boy had to wait briefly for room in late turn and early stretch, but that was probably as much due to himself as it was the surrounding traffic. When he did finally get room in early stretch it took him forever to get to the outside path he needed to get by the courageous Gayego late. The latter got the mile in 1:36.58 while wearing down a game Bob Black Jack, but couldnt hold off the winner in deep stretch. To his credit, Georgie Boy had no quit in him and he just kept flailing away until he found what was needed to get outside and win by of a length, stopping the timer in 1:42.35 for the mile and sixteenth.

Gayego, who like Georgie Boy was trying a route for the first time, pressed the pace from the outside and dueled through the stretch with Bob Black Jack before getting the measure of that one late. Bob Black Jack ran a good race in defeat to finish a length behind Gayego, and may be better sprinting than routing, but its difficult to tell over a surface that plays more like turf than dirt.

Georgie Boy has now won four of his last five starts and three stakes in a row for trainer Kathy Walsh and owner George Schwary. On Feb. 10 he won his first start as a 3-year-old in the 7-furlong San Vicente-G2 at Santa Anita off a 5-month layoff, and in his last start as a 2-year-old on Sept. 5, 2007 he won the 7-furlong Del Mar Futurity-G1. He also won the Graduation Stakes in midsummer at Del Mar as a 2-year-old.

A 3-year-old gelding by Tribal Rule-Ippodamia by Peterhof, Georgie Boy has done little wrong in his career, yet he doesnt seem to be getting the credit he deserves. He paid $4.80 as the favorite in the San Felipe and was given a 92 Beyer Speed Figure, 11 points lower than the 103 he received winning the San Vicente. He may have bounced and still won, which makes his troubled rally into a slow pace even more impressive.

In winning the San Felipe, Georgie Boy was increasing his lifetime earnings to $496,806 from a career record of 4-2-1 in seven starts. If he matures between now and the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby-G1at a distance of a mile and an eighth on April 5, he should be the horse to beat, but Gayego, a winner of the San Pedro Stakes sprinting in his start previous to the San Felipe, could also improve off his first route try.

Despite the slow pace in the San Felipe, the race featured one of the most entertaining stretch drives of the season, with all three horses actually wanting to win. Were hoping for more of the same in the Santa Anita Derby.

San Felipe Stakes Results and Payoffs

March 15, 2008 9th Race Santa Anita

4 Georgie Boy $4.80 $3.20 $2.60

1 Gayego $4.60 $3.40

3 Bob Black Jack $3.00

5 Indian Sun

$1 Exacta 4-1 paid $9.40

$1 Trifecta 4-1-3 paid $27.90

$1 Superfecta 4-1-3-5 paid $106.50