10/01/2012 2:32PM

Santa Anita: Baffert flaunts strength of his Breeders' Cup contingent

Benoit & Associates
Game On Dude's victory in the Grade 1 Awesome Again sends him to the Breeders' Cup Classic as the likely favorite.

ARCADIA, Calif. – There might not be a happier person than trainer Bob Baffert that the Breeders’ Cup will be at Santa Anita next month. This is the track at which Baffert has been the dominant figure for nearly two decades, and he served notice Saturday that he will be a formidable presence in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Nov. 2-3 by sweeping three Grade 1 stakes races, two with runners who could be favored in their respective BC races.

Game On Dude won the Awesome Again, and now moves forward to the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 3, a race in which he should be the betting choice. The unbeaten Executiveprivilege also could be favored in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies following her runaway win in the Chandelier Stakes. And Power Broker now must rank among the top contenders for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile following his victory in the FrontRunner Stakes.

As much as anything, all three will have the home-field advantage. Since 1994-95, Baffert has won 10 training titles during the main Santa Anita winter meeting, and only once in the past 18 seasons has he finished out of the top five.

All three runners came out of their races in good condition, Baffert said Monday morning.

“Game On Dude, that was a nice race for him,” said Baffert, who won all three races in concert with jockey Rafael Bejarano. “He came back with something left. We wanted to conserve him a little bit. He’ll be running with different-type horses next time.”

Executiveprivilege “was really impressive,” Baffert said.

“Rafael never let her run at Del Mar,” Baffert said. “He would just sit on her and let her run the last part.”

Even in the Del Mar Debutante, which she narrowly won?

“He said he had them measured the whole way,” Baffert said. “I thought he cut it a little close.”

Power Broker, winless in three prior starts on synthetic and turf, “was a different horse” in his first start on dirt, Baffert said.

“He was one of my top 2-year-olds before we got down to Del Mar,” said Baffert, who mentioned that Title Contender – a winner over maidens earlier in the day Saturday – would also come back in the BC Juvenile. Both Power Broker and Title Contender are owned by Gary and Mary West.

“The nice thing about those colts is that they both have speed and they can run all day,” Baffert said. “Hopefully Title Contender will get in.”

Trainer Todd Pletcher said from New York that Love and Pride, who won the Zenyatta Stakes on Saturday, and Turbo Compressor, who was second on Sunday in the John Henry Turf Championship, both would remain at Santa Anita to point for the Breeders’ Cup under the supervision of assistant Michael McCarthy, who is originally from Southern California.

“It works out well for him,” Pletcher said.

Pletcher said Love and Pride would come back in the Ladies’ Classic, while Turbo Compressor was likely to be pre-entered in two grass races, the Turf and the Mile.

Slim Shadey, who beat Turbo Compressor in the John Henry, “came out of the race really well,” trainer Simon Callaghan said Monday morning.

Callaghan said the extreme heat at Santa Anita on Sunday, in which the temperature shot up to 104 degrees, did not compromise Slim Shadey.

“Fortunately, he’s one of those who can adjust to the temperature,” Callaghan said.

Casino Host, who was fifth in the John Henry, “had a touch of heat stroke after the race,” according to his trainer, Ron Ellis.

“He looked a little funky coming back, but they got a hose on him right away, and he looks fine this morning,” Ellis said Monday.

Ellis said Casino Host would come back in the BC Turf. Ellis will have two more BC runners – Include Me Out, third in the Zenyatta, will return in the Ladies’ Classic, while Rail Trip, fourth in the Awesome Again, will shorten up to the Dirt Mile.

Ellis thought the speed-favoring nature of the main track over the weekend compromised the chances of Include Me Out.

“It was speed-biased,” Ellis said. “It was so hot, I don’t think they could keep enough water on it. There’s no denying you needed to be near the lead.”

Trainer Doug O’Neill was satisfied with the performances of Richard’s Kid, who came from far back to finish third in the Awesome Again, and Know More, who was second in the FrontRunner. Both will return in Breeders’ Cup races – the Classic for Richard’s Kid, the Juvenile for Know More – with Garrett Gomez retaining both mounts, O’Neill said.

O’Neill is based at Hollywood Park, but said both Richard’s Kid and Know More would train up to the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita.

“The track is extremely safe at Santa Anita, but it is tiring, so I want those horses and some of my other horses to be over there to get used to that track,” O’Neill said Monday.

The well-traveled Marketing Mix, who won the Rodeo Drive on Saturday, came out of that race in good shape and will make her next start in the BC Filly and Mare Turf “as long as everything’s good,” trainer Tom Proctor said Monday afternoon.

“No matter what we do with her, she handles it,” Proctor said.

Dingle More than 1 year ago
Love this Thomas Cook dude, who first perceives himself to be "intelligent" and then writes: "Its truelly distubing..."
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
This Barbara Bowen woman who keeps attacking legitimate posts from knowledgeable horseman is some Baffert worshipper. Myself as well as others give Bobs STABLE credit where it is due. But somehow she fails to see valid comments or recognize intelligent opinions. It' s true that we assistants arent as famous or infamous as Bob. But a few of us have been and still are around and employed by top Ny barns as well as Kentucky and other jurisdictions. Its truelly distubing how some who dont like factual comments just get stupid. I think winning races such as Dwyer, Derby Trial, Diana, Preakness, Hopeful, BC Sprint Remsen, Champagne, Frizzett, Mr Prospector, Mother Goose, and such races give us some credibility. True. We are not Bob but I respect his accomplishments almost as much as the Assistants, riders, and others who have helped him. Biased wanna be's who dont like his political attitude reguarding PAYNTER should take the blinkers off. Yes he has accomplished great things Miss Bowen. Nobody disputes that. Maybe someday us assistants will be so lucky. But its not your place to call us idiots over intelligent questions or posts. The lack of class in name calling reflects poorly on Bob.
Barbara Bowen More than 1 year ago
When I see an intelligent opinion from you, I'll acknowledge it. I'm young enough, you've got time. Not a worshipper at all, but I know the man. So what if he is perfectly human, therefore imperfect? Sick and tired of your insane rants. But questioning why I try to reason with a troll, too. As for what you do, all I got to say is you have a lot of free time to spend posting here that your horses might appreciate you spend hand grazing them! And to be clear, I said he doesn't have to pander to idiots with aimless public comments about Paynter (that your ilk will just jump all over either way.) I guess I hit a nerve? What is it exactly that you need Bob to say, and where, when? Don't you have a horse of your own to take care of? I don't wannabe you Thomas, that's for sure. But I agree, all props to Jimmy Barnes - maybe he should start tweeting about the horse to make you happy? Oh, wait. No. That's right. Jimmy is actually busy, you know, taking care of all those stakes horses. And class would = you shut up and stop posting comments about Baffert when he isn't even part of the discussion. Difference between you and Bob - he knows it is about the horse now, not him.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Barbara. Not fun being insulted is it. The reason I post negatively about the Paynter situation is because of the numerous different excuses originally given since July about how he got sick. They didnt seem truthful given the varying quotes. As far as my work. I spend over twelve hours a day doing same stuff Jimmy does with same class of horses. I also work nights as bartender to pay for my sons daycare. I have equine science degree as well as twenty plus yrs on track. If you read all my posts they are usually helpful n insightful as well as complementary...even to Bob. None of them use words like idiot or troll or other insults.
Barbara Bowen More than 1 year ago
OK Thomas. Fair enough. You seem like you care deeply for horses and while I may think some of your insights here are slightly misguided when you comment on another man's horses, and you think the same of mine...we can agree to wish Paynter well now that it is October and he is still with us. Here's to hoping his surgery tomorrow is successful.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
I will continue to pray for him. And I wish you well also. 3 am. Why bother to sleep an hour.
Ponies Payme More than 1 year ago
Thomas - Since you post abpout work, then I assume you think of it as "work". If you still need to "work" a second job to pay the bills after 20 years, you need to find something else to do. If you love horses so much, see them somewhere else and spend more time with your kid(s). As for Paynter..... NO ONE owes you or I or anyone an explanation as to the well-being of their horse. Stallion fees, among other things make the "real" issue kept in the dark for a reason. If you have 20 years on the track, you certainly were bartending the day they taught THAT lesson.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
I'm fortunate enough to love my work. Are you a single dad with bills to pay and your kids future to worry bout. I do just fine but thanks for your advice. Please stick to handicapping. Thanks.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Again, I have to "admire" the inexplicable and incorrect use of quotations.
cory s More than 1 year ago
It will be interesting to see how Baffert's 2 year olds respond to the loss of Lasix come the BC. I am shocked this isn't a bigger story line with BC right around the corner. Give the Euro 2 yos as well as the babies trained by the likes of McLaughlin and McPeek et al who have refused to juice their babies a strong look this year. I believe this is going to end up being the biggest story of this years BC and will affect how horses are handled in future years if the Lasix ban on all BC fields does come to pass and take effect. That sound you hear come Nov 2nd and 3rd may be the sound of some 2 yos screaming for their mama while running down the stretch at Santa Anita.
Matthew Sanchez More than 1 year ago
everybody look out for richards kid in the classic,,, just a shame he runs in game on dudes shadow all the time, he always puts in his good effort and usual late kick, expect more pace and extra distance in the classic for him to be mowing them all down!!!!!
Five More than 1 year ago
Please bet alot and frequently. East Coast, Bill Mott or Kathy Ritvo and I will thank you.
Matthew Sanchez More than 1 year ago
who ritvo has again? and i will always bet mott,,, nice score last year it capped a big day for me!!! can u say i nailed that pick 3 court vision,hansen,drosselmyer!!! perfect scenario
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
I just wonder one thing lately. Bob puts his horses in spots to succeed. Obviously. But given the void of turf stars in his stable, why wasn't The Factor ever given a chance on turf? War Front throws some nice turf horses. For example Summer Front trained by Clement.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Didn' think of that. You are right. I bet he could have benn a hell of a miler.
John Flynn More than 1 year ago
Baffert's horses may have Peaked. I just hope for his sake there is something left in the tank on the Big Day.
Barbara Bowen More than 1 year ago
Looked like Bejarano was particularly careful to gear them all down to me since they all won by daylight in hand. The Lasix question is quite valid for the 2 year olds, though.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
And out East, still not a word from Baffart about Paynter. I don't get it.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Its politics. Distancing himself from bad press. Denying culpability.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Come on Thomas. You know, and we expect, better than that. If you are going to be the resident insider and professional keep it real.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Fair enough. But if my name was associated with Paynter as trainer, and obviously i'm not that fotunate, I show SOME interest.
Barbara Bowen More than 1 year ago
He does. He communicates with the owner of the horse every day. Pandering to idiots isn't part of his job description, though. He has lots of horses to train and Gr. 1 races to win, you know...oh, wait. No. You don't.
Guy More than 1 year ago
And what evidence do you have that Paynter's illness and struggle is Baffert's fault?
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
What is he suppose to do/say. The horse is out of his barn and in the hands of others("Dr.Laura, Dr Fraley and Doc Cheney") who are apparently some of the best. Justin Zayat and the vet professionals are calling the shots now. I.E... Baffert is a "TRAINER" not a "VET"
Gene More than 1 year ago
Memo to Ron Ellis... Rail Trip is NOT a Breeders Cup horse anymore... He will not know which way they went going a mile as he can't keep up early and he cannot come from off the pace. Include Me Out has beaten the worst Southern California fields we've seen in ages (Ellafitzand those garbage cans), and was exposed by the sixth best filly (Royal Delta, Awesome Feather, It's Tricky, Questing and My Miss Aurelia are all better than her) in Love and Pride... Instead of complaining about an "East Coast" bias, perhaps you should get realistic about what you have...
John More than 1 year ago
Outstanding racing for the fans and everyone came out of their races in good shape ! You couldnt ask for more ! Power Broker, "WOW" but Bob hinted that Title Contender is his equal, can you say Bodemeister/Paynter all over again ! Has Brad Free picked anything but a favorite yet this meet?????Thank God he isnt the morning line maker !
Paul_Tuon More than 1 year ago
John--The meet just started 3 days ago and it's too early to judge anybody at this time.
Alyssa F. More than 1 year ago
Yep, and then O'Neill finds his IHA for 2013, and then him and Baffert have another rivalry for next years triple crown trail...now THAT would be hilarious!
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Do you really want to hear Baffert/Bode/Paynter again?