Updated on 09/15/2011 1:18PM

BC Morning Roundup: Baffert arrives with a strong hand


ELMONT, N.Y. - With Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships Day quickly approaching, Bobby Frankel's six entries have stolen much of the attention usually reserved for Bob Baffert on the week of a big race. However, Baffert has quietly arrived on the backstretch at Belmont Park with a strong contingent of his own, and likes the chances of all three of his three runners.

Baffert's trio of Officer, El Corredor and Habibti arrived at Belmont Tuesday night, and all three were out on the track for light jogs Wednesday morning. Officer is expected to be the biggest favorite on the eight-race Breeders' Cup card, and with El Corredor and Habibti, Baffert feels his hand will be a strong one on Saturday.

"My best shot is Officer. It's exciting to be here with Officer and Habibti. I love Habibti," said Baffert. "I'm not so sure with El Corredor, which means that's the one that will probably win."

Baffert figures to play a prominent role on Saturday, but doesn't mind not being in the spotlight for once. He was in Frankel's shoes back in 1999 when he lost six Breeders' Cup races despite sending out four favorites (Silverbulletday, Distaff; Chilukki, Fillies; Forestry, Sprint; Forest Camp, Juvenile), and a second-favorite (General Challenge, Classic). With trainer Bobby Frankel in a similar position this year,

the pressure is off Baffert.

"Championships are on the line here, so it's a big deal," said Baffert. "But we've been here before. We can handle this pressure."

Officer, a 3 3/4-length winner of Belmont's Champagne Stakes, drew post two in the Juvenile and has been installed as the 4-5 morning-line favorite.

"He looks better than he did for the Champagne," said Baffert of Officer. "I'm confident that he's doing well and will run well. He wants to get it on, so it's gonna be fun. If he gets beat I'll be very sad."

Baffert knows, however, that it's not a good idea to be too overconfident going into the Juvenile.

"Last year, I thought Point Given was a cinch, but he had bad racing luck and the inside post killed him and we got beat," said Baffert in reference to Point Given's loss to Macho Uno in last year's Juvenile.

This year, Baffert considers Siphonic and European invader Johannesburg as his chief competition in the Juvenile.

"I saw Johannesburg and he looked pretty tough. He must be a nice horse if he won all those races, and he's bred for the dirt," said Baffert. "I never saw Siphonic's race (a win in the Lane's End Futurity), but I heard it was a nice race."

Siphonic drew the inside post in the Juvenile and is listed as the 6-1 third-favorite on the morning line.

Johannesburg drew post three and is 8-1.

Habibti drew post one in the nine-horse Juvenile Fillies and is listed as the 3-1 second-choice in the morning line. El Corredor got post 10 in the Sprint, and is also the morning line second-choice at 9-2 in that 14-horse field.

Fantastic Light sticks out in the Turf

Godolphin's decision to run Fantastic Light in the Turf and Sakhee in the Classic was a surprise to many, but the move doesn't look bad in regards to the Turf, where Fantastic Light has been set as the 8-5 morning line favorite.

"I'm very happy with Fantastic Light. He has an excellent chance in the Turf," said trainer Saeed bin Suroor. "[Godolphin] decides what to do based on what's best for the horses. A mile and a half is good for Fantastic Light, and he likes a pace up front.

Good to firm turf will be best. I'm very confident."

Fantastic Light drew post two for the Turf and will be ridden by Frankie Dettori.

In other Godolphin news, Noverre and Express Tour, who are both entered to run in the Mile, recorded five furlong workouts on the turf at Belmont Wednesday morning. According to Suroor, Noverre was clocked in 1:01.20 with Frankie Dettori up, while Express Tour was clocked in at 1:04 under John Velazquez.

"They handled the ground very well. Noverre is the best he's ever been," said Suroor. "Frankie is very happy with his horse. Johnny, too."

Express Tour drew the seven hole at 20-1 in the morning line. Noverre is the 3-1 morning line favorite and will break from post three. As with Fantastic Light, Suroor reiterated that good to firm ground would be preferred for both horses.

Kona Gold favored in the Sprint

Defending champion Kona Gold drew post four and was installed as the 7-2 morning line favorite in the Sprint.

"We like the draw, and there's a lot of speed to his inside," said trainer Bruce Headley. Perhaps Headley was referring to speedballs Xtra Heat (12-1) and Squirtle Squirt (12-1), who drew posts one and three.

Irish Prize drills, draws 13

Irish Prize took to the track Wednesday morning for a four-furlong turf workout timed in :49.28. The good feeling was short-lived, however, as hours later he draw the far outside post 13 in the Mile. At Belmont Park, the Mile is run on the Widener Turf course with the gate on the clubhouse turn.

So many choices, so little time

As expected, Tranquility Lake entered the Distaff instead of the Filly and Mare Turf. The California invader trained by Julio Canani drew the rail in a 13-horse Distaff field and will be ridded by Eddie Delahoussaye.

In other developments at Wednesday morning's post draw, City Zip chose the Mile instead of the Sprint allowing Hook And Ladder to draw in of the also eligible list.

Brahms and Numerous Times both chose the Mile instead of the Classic, which allowed D. Wayne Lukas' Indiana

Derby winner Orientate to draw into the Classic.