Lombo made his first Road to the Kentucky Derby series qualifier appearance a winning one in Saturday’s $151,380 Robert B. Lewis (G3) at Santa Anita, posting a comfortable wire-to-wire score. Flavien Prat was up for trainer Michael Pender.

A 3 ½-length maiden scorer making his third career start on January 20, Lombo stretched out to two turns in the 1 1/16-mile Lewis and recorded opening splits in :23.40 and :47.26 on a short lead. He began to edge away on the far turn and stretched the advantage to four lengths in upper stretch.

Owned by Michael V. Lombardi, Lombo held on by two lengths in the end and stopped the teletimer in 1:45.41. The gray colt was listed as the 5-1 third favorite on the morning line but overlooked at 8-1 odds by the betting public.

Ayacara, the 4-1 third choice following a sixth in the grassy Eddie Logan, rallied belatedly for second. He was 2 ¼ lengths clear of 36-1 longshot Dark Vader in third and Regulate, who is now winless from four starts, wound up another 3 ½ lengths back in fourth at 11-1.

As part of the prep season portion of the series, the Robert B. Lewis offered points on a 10-4-2-1 scale toward a berth in a 20-horse Kentucky Derby starting gate.

From the first crop of Tayler Made stallion Graydar, Lombo was bred in Kentucky by Twin Creeks Farm. He initially sold for $110,000 as a weanling at the 2015 Keeneland November sale and brought $40,000 the following July as a Fasig-Tipton Kentucky yearling before finally being acquired for $75,000 at the 2017 OBS March 2-year-old sale.

Lombo is out of the stakes-winning Johannesburg mare Burg Berg.

Robert B. Lewis Quotes

MIKE PENDER, trainer Lombo: “He’s definitely a high octane horse. Apparently, Graydar (his sire) had some of the same characteristics and Unbridled’s Song (Graydar’s sire) as well. He’s just a big kid and got a little ADD to him but he’s starting to figure it out. When he does really figure it out, I think he’ll be really dangerous.

“We’ve been training since November to get two turns. I knew he had intense gate speed…I knew he was going to break right on the muscle today and take them as far as he could.”

FLAVIEN PRAT, jockey Lombo: “He ran a big race. They put a little pressure on him down the backside, but he was nice and relaxed. I worked him last week and he’s got a lot of speed was concerned he might want to go, but he was relaxed. That was my main concern, but he relaxed and then he went on.”

KENT DESORMEAUX, jockey runner-up Ayacara: “I love the way my horse finished. I had my choice between the winner and this horse, so I guess I picked the wrong one! Seriously, my horse is improving and he’ll get better as we go longer.”