Crown of Thorns wins Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita

Updated: February 2, 2008, 8:51 PM ET
Associated Press

ARCADIA, Calif. -- Crown of Thorns beat Coast Guard by 2½ lengths Saturday in the $200,000 Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita.

Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Crown of Thorns ran 1 1-16 miles in 1:40.76 and paid $5.40, $3.40 and $2.60 in the Kentucky Derby prep for 3-year-olds.

Coast Guard returned $4 and $2.80, and Reflect Times paid $2.80 to show.

Espinoza rallied Crown of Thorns from third place, going through an opening at the rail near the five-sixteenths pole.

"I was a little worried about using him early, so when we made the lead, I just sat still on him," he said. "This horse is getting better with every race and he can do anything. I really think we could put him on the lead and win that way, too."

Crown of Thorns earned his first victory on New Year's Day by seven lengths for trainer Richard Mandella and owner B. Wayne Hughes, who purchased the colt for $300,000 last March.

"I was worried as he went into the three-eighths pole, hoping he would get a little luck there, and as it turned out, he did," Mandella said. "This was pretty convincing."

Mandella said Crown of Thorns could race next in the $200,000 Sham Stakes on March 1 and then the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 5.

The victory, worth $120,000, increased Crown of Thorns' career earnings to $179,640, with two wins in three starts. He was fifth in his debut on Dec. 8 at Hollywood Park.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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