A deep field of Road to the Kentucky Derby contenders will square off in Saturday's $100,000 Robert B. Lewis (G3) at Santa Anita. Eight talented 3-year-olds will vie for 17 qualification points, split 10-4-2-1 among the top four finishers in the 1 1/16-mile race.

Medina Spirit
Total 2 start(s)
Wins:
1
Place:
1
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(97) when finishing second in the Sham (G3).
Total Earnings:
$45,200
Owner:
Zedan Racing Stables
Breeder:
Gail Rice
Trainer:
Bob Baffert
Jockey:
Abel Cedillo
Sire:
Protonico
Dam:
Mongolian Changa
Color:
Dark bay/brown

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has won the Robert B. Lewis eight times, and he'll saddle two formidable runners in search of a ninth victory. The first is Medina Spirit, an eye-catching maiden winner who recently battled to a runner-up effort in the Sham (G3) at Santa Anita. The latter effort was particularly impressive as Medina Spirit showed resilience to charge hard and fall less than a length short of catching early Kentucky Derby favorite Life Is Good. Sold for just $35,000 as a 2-year-old, Medina Spirit has exceeded expectations so far and can deliver a victory in the Robert B. Lewis.

Rombauer
Total 4 start(s)
Wins:
1
Place:
1
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(93) when finishing fifth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1).
Total Earnings:
$150,500
Owner:
John and Diane Fradkin
Breeder:
John Fradkin and Diane Fradkin
Trainer:
Michael McCarthy
Jockey:
Mike Smith
Sire:
Twiling Candy
Dam:
Cashmere
Color:
Bay

A capable runner on both dirt and turf, Rombauer joined the Road to the Kentucky Derby with a runner-up effort in Santa Anita's American Pharoah (G1) last fall, a race in which he finished 4 3/4 lengths clear of Robert B. Lewis rival Spielberg. But the stretch-running Rombauer could only finish fifth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) despite receiving a perfect pace setup, and his lack of tactical speed may place the son of Twirling Candy at a disadvantage on Saturday.

Parnelli
Total 5 start(s)
Wins:
1
Place:
3
Show:
1
Top Speed Rating:
(90) when finishing second in a Del Mar maiden race.
Total Earnings:
$79,600
Owner:
C R K Stable
Breeder:
Gainesway Thoroughbreds
Trainer:
John Shirreffs
Jockey:
Umberto Rispoli
Sire:
Quality Road
Dam:
Sip Sip
Color:
Bay

Never out of the trifecta in five starts, Parnelli has already knocked heads with some tough runners, coming within a neck of beating Hot Rod Charlie and Spielberg in separate 1-mile maiden races. But the son of Quality Road was no match for Medina Spirit in the Sham (G3), finishing 13 lengths behind in third place. Parnelli's tactical speed is an asset, but he'll need a stronger stretch kick if he's going to vie for more than a top-four finish in the Robert B. Lewis.

Hot Rod Charlie
Total 5 start(s)
Wins:
1
Place:
1
Show:
1
Top Speed Rating:
(100) when finishing second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1).
Total Earnings:
$383,700
Owner:
Roadrunner Racing, Boat Racing, and William Strauss
Breeder:
Edward A. Cox Jr.
Trainer:
Doug O'Neill
Jockey:
Joel Rosario
Sire:
Oxbow
Dam:
Indian Miss
Color:
Dark bay/brown

Since adding blinkers two starts back, Hot Rod Charlie has improved by leaps and bounds. After edging Parnelli in a slow-paced maiden race at Santa Anita, Hot Rod Charlie traveled across the country to finish second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1), beaten less than a length by the undefeated Essential Quality. Considering Hot Rod Charlie made an early move into a hot pace, this was a big effort, and his performance was flattered when third-place finisher Keepmeinmind returned to win the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2). Hot Rod Charlie continues to train forwardly and is capable of vying for victory again on Saturday.

Roman Centurian
Total 2 start(s)
Wins:
1
Place:
0
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(87) when breaking his maiden at Santa Anita.
Total Earnings:
$40,020
Owner:
Qatar Racing and Don Alberto Stable
Breeder:
Don Alberto Corporation
Trainer:
Simon Callaghan
Jockey:
Juan Hernandez
Sire:
Oxbow
Dam:
Spare Change
Color:
Dark bay/brown

Sold for $550,000 as a yearling, Roman Centurian finished behind fellow Robert B. Lewis entrant Wipe the Slate when coming home fourth in his debut sprinting at Del Mar. But Roman Centurian took a significant step forward when stretching out over 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita, rallying to dominate a maiden race by 3 3/4 lengths. As a son of Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Empire Maker out of a mare by Preakness (G1) winner Bernardini, Roman Centurian is bred to improve with maturity and thrive running long, so another step forward could be in the offing on Saturday.

Waspirant
Total 4 start(s)
Wins:
1
Place:
0
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(81) when breaking his maiden at Del Mar.
Total Earnings:
$60,300
Owner:
Martin and Pam Wygod
Breeder:
Wygod Equine
Trainer:
John Shirreffs
Jockey:
Ricardo Gonzalez
Sire:
Union Rags
Dam:
Life Is Sweet
Color:
Chestnut

A son of Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Union Rags out of Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (G1) winner Life Is Sweet, Waspirant is bred top and bottom to be an elite racehorse. But the chestnut colt has struggled in his two previous forays on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, finishing fourth by wide margins in the American Pharoah (G1) and Sham (G3). The waters will arguably be deeper than ever in the Robert B. Lewis, so Waspirant will need improvement to secure a top-four finish.

Wipe the Slate
Total 2 start(s)
Wins:
1
Place:
1
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(90) when breaking his maiden at Santa Anita.
Total Earnings:
$48,000
Owner:
Reddam Racing
Breeder:
Brookfield Stud
Trainer:
Doug O'Neill
Jockey:
Mario Gutierrez
Sire:
Nyquist
Dam:
Fancy and Flashy
Color:
Chestnut

Five years ago, Reddam Racing and trainer Doug O'Neill teamed up to win the Kentucky Derby with Nyquist. Now they're back on the Road to the Kentucky Derby with Wipe the Slate, a talented son of Nyquist with a bright future. After finishing second behind Life Is Good in his debut at Del Mar, Wipe the Slate easily handled a 7-furlong maiden sprint at Santa Anita, pressing the pace before drawing clear by 3 1/4 lengths. The Robert B. Lewis will mark Wipe the Slate's first start around two turns, but his improving Brisnet Speed ratings suggest he can factor against this caliber of competition.

Spielberg
Total 6 start(s)
Wins:
2
Place:
2
Show:
1
Top Speed Rating:
(101) when winning the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2).
Total Earnings:
$257,200
Owner:
SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Golconda Stables, Siena Farm, and Robert E. Masterson
Breeder:
G. Watts Humphrey Jr.
Trainer:
Bob Baffert
Jockey:
Flavien Prat
Sire:
Union Rags
Dam:
Miss Squeal
Color:
Chestnut

The most accomplished runner in the field, Spielberg has always been a highly regarded prospect for trainer Bob Baffert. Purchased for $1 million as a yearling, the son of Union Rags compiled a solid 2-year-old campaign, placing in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) and American Pharoah (G1) before ending the year with a victory in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2). The latter effort produced a 101 Brisnet Speed rating, the highest figure in the Robert B. Lewis field. But Spielberg has been a bit inconsistent, and with six starts under his belt, he might have less upside than his up-and-coming stablemate Medina Spirit.