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Santa Anita: Baffert flaunts strength of his Breeders' Cup contingent
By Jay Privman
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.
Love this Thomas Cook dude, who first perceives himself to be "intelligent" and then writes: "Its truelly distubing..."
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.
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.
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!!!!!
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.
Baffert's horses may have Peaked. I just hope for his sake there is something left in the tank on the Big Day.
And out East, still not a word from Baffart about Paynter. I don't get it.
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...
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 !
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