01/05/2010 12:00AM

Promising Baffert-trained 3-year-old dies


ARCADIA, Calif. - Clutch Player, the Bob Baffert-trained Kentucky Derby prospect, died Monday after contracting a form of pneumonia over the weekend, the trainer said.

A colt sired by Malibu Moon, Clutch Player scored a four-length debut victory Dec. 19 at Hollywood Park, the day Baffert won four races including the Grade 1 CashCall Hollywood Futurity with Lookin at Lucky. Clutch Player won the six-furlong maiden race in a quick 1:08.91, earned an 87 Beyer Figure, and was expected to stretch out early in the Santa Anita meet.

Baffert said the colt got sick Friday at Santa Anita, and shipped immediately to Chino Valley Equine Hospital.

"In 72 hours, he was gone," Baffert said Tuesday at his Santa Anita stable. "The mood here has been pretty somber."

The owner of Clutch Player is Kaleem Shah, whose colt Take Control (by A.P. Indy and out of Azeri) won his debut on Dec. 30.

Shah "had a great week, and then this," Baffert said, adding that the owner had been attached to Clutch Player and was "devastated" over the colt's death.

Shah purchased Clutch Player for $170,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-old sale in 2009.