Nolo Contesto holds value in Robert B. Lewis

The Grade III, $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes anchors the action at Santa Anita this Saturday. A potentially sloppy track could throw a wrench into the works, but with little wet-track form to go on, handicappers shouldn’t worry about having to dramatically alter their strategy. Post time for the 1 1/16th-mile Robert B. Lewis, the sixth of 10 races on the day, is 5:53 p.m. EST. In addition to watching and wagering, be sure to give FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game a try!

#6 NOLO CONTESTO (5-2) rebounded from an inauspicious debut at Del Mar (in which he lost an iron) to graduate over this course last time out. He was four-wide into the first turn under Joel Rosario but still managed to inch away late from nine others. NOLO CONTESTO is right where he needs to be speed figure-wise and retains Rosario. He should lay close to the pace set by MUCHO GUSTO and kick it into high gear in the lane. The extra 1/16th he adds today should be to his benefit.

#5 MUCHO GUSTO (8-5, morning-line favorite) was overpowered late by Improbable in the Los Al Futurity most recently. The Robert B. Lewis will go a long way in determining how far MUCHO GUSTO wants to go. The Bob Baffert trainee is a stakes winner already, albeit at seven furlongs. MUCHO GUSTO will have Joe Talamo aboard once more.

#4 GUNMETAL GRAY (9-5) won Santa Anita’s Sham Stakes last time out but hasn’t really gone forward in the speed figure department since the autumn of his two-year-old campaign. Barring a complete pace meltdown involving the best two horses in the race, GUNMETAL GRAY appears to be in the running for a minor award only. Hall-of-Famer Mike Smith has the call.

The play: $10 exacta 6/5, $6 exacta 5/6, $4 exacta 6/4 ($20)

DFJ analysis: Mike Smith has just two mounts on Saturday, but he seems like a strong addition to the stable nonetheless. He’ll be on GUNMETAL GRAY in the Robert B. Lewis before riding heavy favorite McKinzie in the San Pasqual.

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