Updated on 09/16/2011 9:04AM

Kafwain takes Best Pal


DEL MAR, Calif. - Kafwain gave trainer Bob Baffert a record third consecutive victory in Wednesday's Grade 3, $150,000 Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar.

Baffert had won the Best Pal Stakes with Flame Thrower (2000) and Officer (2001). He also won with Worldly Manner in 1998.

The victory by Kafwain, and a second by the Baffert-trained Chief Planner, gives Baffert an excellent chance to win an unprecedented seventh consecutive Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 11.

Baffert had three starters in the Best Pal Stakes and one of his horses was always on the lead. Icecoldbeeratreds, the 4-5 favorite, led through early fractions of 22.13 and 45.20 seconds, but was challenged by Kafwain on the turn.

Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Kafwain ($6.80) took the lead in early stretch and won by a length over the late-closing Chief Planner. Owned by The Thoroughbred Corp., Kafwain ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:17.

Chief Planner, sent off at 13-1, finished a length in front of Outta Here, a maiden, who was followed by Red Apache, Icecoldbeeratreds, Hell Cat, and Gralley.

Icecoldbeeratreds faded in the final furlong, failing to duplicate his win in the Graduation Stakes for California-breds on July 31. "Icecoldbeer is a real fast horse and maybe he bounced out of that race," Baffert said.

Baffert was worried that Espinoza had Kafwain challenged Icecoldbeeratreds too early. In deep stretch, Kafwain did not change leads.

"He was exhausted," Baffert said. "This track is pretty demanding and when they run in 1:17 they're good horses."