Michael Petersen’s Mor Spirit galloped by a pair of frontrunners in the Santa Anita stretch en route to a tidy 1 ½-length victory in the $150,000 Robert B. Lewis S. (G3) on Saturday.
Mor Spirit is Bob Baffert’s record sixth winner of the Lewis, named in honor of one of Baffert’s long-time clients and owner of Baffert’s first Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Silver Charm. Baffert won the Lewis last year with Dortmund, who would go on to finish third in the Derby.
Mor Spirit, who sat just off the pace set by I Will Score and Uncle Lino, looked at every point he was just waiting to make his move. Gary Stevens asked the 3-year-old for a response near the top of the stretch, and he accelerated powerfully to take command, winning in a hand ride.
“He wasn’t even blowing after the race,” said Stevens. “I haven’t been able to get him tired in the morning yet. He seems to just do just enough for what’s in front of him; he likes a target. I think as he faces better horses, he’ll only get better.”
Winner of the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) last year, Mor Spirit is now 3-2-0 and has earned $378,400. The son of Eskendereya earned an additional 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby challenge series and has a total of 24, which ranks second on the most recent list.
Plans for Mor Spirit’s next race are still up in the air according to Baffert.
“I don’t know,” responded Baffert. “We know he’ll go on a plane (for another Derby prep) to go somewhere but right now I’ll just go by how he’s doing. It’s just too far ahead.”