ARCADIA, Calif. -- Ten Devils faces a potentially career-altering race in Saturday's $250,000 Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita.
After racing on turf in his first three starts, Ten Devils makes his debut on the main track in the Grade 2 Lewis, a key prep for the $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 9.
"I'll see whether he handles it," trainer Richard Mandella said. "He's got plenty of races underneath him. It's time to find out."
Owned by breeder Gerald Ford's Diamond A Racing, Ten Devils has one victory in three starts and has never been worse than second. But reviews have been mixed. After winning a maiden race over five furlongs on turf at Hollywood Park in November, Ten Devils was beaten a half-length by Silver Medallion in the Eddie Logan Stakes over a mile on turf Dec. 31.
He was second, beaten a half-length, by Ronin Dax, in an optional claimer on Jan. 23, after taking the lead at the eighth pole but failing to hold the advantage.
"I think he went to sleep on me," Mandella said.
Joe Talamo was aboard Ten Devils in his first three starts and is booked to ride him in the Lewis Stakes, which is run over 1 1/8 miles. Race strategy may be altered. Instead of racing just behind the pace as he did in the Jan. 23 race, Ten Devils may be farther off the pace, Mandella said.
"I think he wants to be taken back more," he said. "I know the track doesn't favor that, but that's the way it is. He's a big beautiful colt that's got talent."
The Lewis field is led by Tapizar, winner of the Grade 3 Sham Stakes in his stakes debut Jan. 15.
Comma to the Top, winner of the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park in December, and Anthony's Cross, third in the Sham, are entered in both the Lewis and El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday. Trainer Peter Miller said earlier this week that he plans to start Comma to the Top in the El Camino Real Derby.
Evening Jewel points to Buena Vista
Evening Jewel, winner of the Sunshine Millions Distaff on Jan. 29 and four graded stakes last year, will make her next start in the $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap over a mile on turf for fillies and mares on Feb. 21, trainer Jim Cassidy said Wednesday.
After the Sunshine Millions Distaff, Cassidy considered starting the 4-year-old Evening Jewel in the $300,000 Santa Margarita Invitational Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on the main track March 12 but has opted for the turf race.
Cassidy said the expected depth of the Grade 1 Santa Margarita, which is expected to include Switch, winner of two Grade 1 stakes at this meeting, as well as the multiple stakes winners Blind Luck and St Trinians, who are scheduled to start this weekend, made the Grade 2 Buena Vista more attractive.
"If I have another option, why not?" Cassidy said.
Owned by Marilyn Braly, Evening Jewel has won 7 of 15 starts and $1,182,943.
California Nectar will cut back
California Nectar, the California-bred champion 2-year-old filly of 2010, will revert to sprinting after finishing fifth in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes over a mile last Saturday, owner Pablo Suarez said.
California Nectar, who is trained by Doug O'Neill, will make her next start in the $100,000 Santa Paula Stakes, a Grade 3 over 6 1/2 furlongs for 3-year-old fillies. Earlier at this meeting, California Nectar won two seven-furlong stakes – the California Breeders' Champion Stakes in January and the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes in January.
In the Las Virgenes, California Nectar engaged in a wicked speed duel with May Day Rose and faded from contention after a half-mile.