10/29/2017 2:41PM

Mor Spirit among five Breeders' Cup workers for Baffert

Shigeki Kikkawa
Cupid, pre-entered in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile and Classic, breezes Sunday at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Mor Spirit’s performance in winning the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park four months ago was nothing short of brilliant. But it certainly took a toll on Mor Spirit, who has not run since.

But based on his last two workouts, Mor Spirit has shown trainer Bob Baffert that he is ready to go again. On Sunday at Santa Anita, Mor Spirit worked a solid five furlongs in 1:01.13 from the gate in company with Cat Burglar as he prepares for Friday’s $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Del Mar.

This was the sixth straight week that Baffert has worked Mor Spirit from the starting gate.

“I couldn’t get a race into him, and for some reason, if I work him from the pole, he doesn’t work,” Baffert said.

In Sunday’s work, Mor Spirit, with Martin Garcia up, and Cat Burglar were basically together through fractions of 12.91 seconds, 24.66, and 36.33. Mor Spirit had a head in front coming to the wire. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.00.

Baffert said it took a long time for Mor Spirit to get over the Met Mile, a race he won by 6 1/4 lengths and for which he earned a career-best 117 Beyer Speed Figure.

“That Met Mile just cooked him,” Baffert said.

Mor Spirit was one of five Breeders’ Cup horses Baffert worked on a cool, overcast morning at Santa Anita.

Cupid, who is also expected to run in the Dirt Mile, went a half-mile in 48.11 seconds by himself. He got his last quarter in 23.97. Santa Anita clockers had him going five furlongs in 1:00.40.

Cupid was pre-entered for both the Dirt Mile and Saturday’s $6 million Classic. All indications are that he will run in the Dirt Mile. Baffert said the Dirt Mile “might be a little short for him, but they go so fast [early] sometimes.”

West Coast, the Travers and Pennsylvania Derby winner, worked five furlongs in 1:00.69 in preparation for the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He started two lengths behind Red Kite and finished two lengths front, getting a final quarter in 24.07.

“West Coast went well,” Baffert said. “He’s a horse that’s on the improve. He likes a mile and a quarter, he deserves a shot. We know how tough these 3-year-olds can be this time of the year.”

Baffert has won the last three runnings of the Classic with 3-year-olds: Bayern (2014), American Pharoah (2015), and Arrogate (2016).

Solomini, the runner-up in the FrontRunner, worked five furlongs in 1:00.95 in company with the filly Goldy Espony, the runner-up in the Grade 1 Rodeo Drive. Solomini started a length behind and finished a length in front, though he came a bit wide entering the stretch.

“He worked really nice today, and he’s tough to get to work,” Baffert said.

Baffert was really pleased with Alluring Star’s five-furlong work in 1:00.36 at 6:30 a.m. Alluring Star wore blinkers in Sunday’s work, equipment she has worn in her two races but that she did not wear in a workout last week that Baffert felt was subpar.

“Her work last week wasn’t very good,” he said. “I tried something different with her, took blinkers off and put her behind [horses], and she responded horribly. So, blinkers back on, let her run.”

Ironically, Alluring Star found herself behind horses in Sunday’s work, but “with the blinkers, she went after them,” Baffert said. “She needed that work.”

On Monday, Baffert planned to work Arrogate (Classic) and Drefong (Sprint) at Santa Anita.

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