Hall of Famer Bob Baffert has won the GIII Robert B. Lewis S. seven times in his career, including last year with recent GIII Pegasus World Cup S. victor Mucho Gusto (Mucho Macho Man). The conditioner has a strong chance to win it for the eighth time Saturday with undefeated Thousand Words (Pioneerof the Nile) and High Velocity (Quality Road).
A $1-million KEESEP purchase, Thousand Words won on debut in Arcadia Oct. 26 and followed suit with a neck victory over GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile runner-up Anneau d'Or (Medaglia d'Oro) in the GII Los Alamitos Futurity S. Dec. 7. Also a first out graduate at Santa Anita Oct. 13, High Velocity followed suit with a win in the GIII Bob Hope S. Nov. 16 and was third to his stablemate in the Los Alamitos Futurity.
Tizamagician (Tiznow) played the bridesmaid in four of his first five trips to the post, but finally broke through last time going a mile at this oval Jan. 1, good enough for an 85 Beyer Speed Figure.
Encoder (English Channel) is also of intrigue in here if he can transfer his turf form to the dirt. Three for six on the grass, the bay enters off a victory in the Eddie Logan S. at this venue Dec. 29.