The $150,000 Robert B. Lewis (G3) marks the second Kentucky Derby qualifier at Santa Anita this year and Gunmetal Gray will look to make it two straight. The Jerry Hollendorfer-trained colt rallied dramatically to win the Sham (G3) on January 5 and meets five rivals Saturday.
Contested at 1 1/16 miles, the Robert B. Lewis will award a total of 17 points to the top four finishers (10-4-2-1) as part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series.
Campaigned by West Point Thoroughbreds, Pearl Racing and Hollendorfer, Gunmetal Gray ranks fifth on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with 14 points, picking up an additional four for a runner-up finish in the American Pharoah (G1) last fall. Mike Smith retains the mount on the son of Exchange Rate and Gunmetal Gray has been installed as the 9-5 second choice on the morning line.
Mucho Gusto is the early 8-5 favorite for five-time Kentucky Derby winner Bob Baffert. Runner-up to unbeaten stablemate Improbable in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) in mid-December, the chestnut son of Mucho Macho Man captured the Bob Hope (G3) at Del Mar two starts back and has shown speed in all three starts. Joe Talamo guides the Michael Petersen colorbearer.
Nolo Contesto will jump to stakes company off a maiden triumph in his second career start. Owned by Hronis Racing and trained by John Sadler, the son of Pioneerof the Nile registered a commendable 95 BRIS Speed rating for the half-length decision and keeps Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Joel Rosario in the saddle.
Sham fifth-placer Easy Shot, last-out maiden winner Magnificent McCool and longshot Kid Cantina complete the field.