Baffert Back To Business In Juvenile Stakes At Del Mar - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Baffert Back To Business In Juvenile Stakes At Del Mar

It may be easier for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert to decompress and recover from last week's Breeders' Cup World Championships than the majority of Del Mar racing fans.

Last Saturday, Baffert was busy with five horses to saddle in four Breeders' Cup races. It began with Gamine finishing third as the 2/5 favorite in the Filly & Mare Sprint and continued with Eight Rings (4th) in the Dirt Mile, As Time Goes By (8th), and Private Mission (11th) in the Distaff and concluded with Medina Spirit (2nd) in the Classic at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif.

A day earlier his Corniche had triumphed in the Juvenile with Del Mar Futurity winner Pinehurst (5th) and Barossa (9th).

A lot to get the adrenaline flowing in a 68-year-old, even one of his experience and accomplishments. But, Baffert said, recovery time from the rigors of the Breeders' Cup was minimal for him.

“As soon as it goes official, I'm thinking about the next one (race or event),” Baffert said. “I'm proud of all my horses other than Gamine and I blame myself for that. I should have given her a prep race.”

Gamine came in with five straight graded stakes victories by a combined 23 ½ lengths, but hadn't raced since late August.

He considered Private Mission, winner of the Torrey Pines Stakes here during the summer meeting, and As Time Goes By to be victims of circumstance.

Private Mission, As Time Goes By and favored Letruska blazed early before occupying three of the last four finishing positions as longshot Marche Lorraine ($101.80) rallied to win.

“We thought nobody would go with Private Mission, and then they all did,” Baffert said.

The Breeders' Cup ended on something of a high note for Baffert when Kentucky Derby winner (pending a Kentucky Racing Commission ruling) Medina Spirit finished second to runaway winner Knicks Go, polishing off a strong case for an Eclipse Award as the top 3-year-old.

This weekend, it will be back to business as usual for Baffert. That is, looming large over and being positioned to dominate Juvenile stakes races. Baffert will saddle 6/5 morning line favorite Eda and Under the Stars in a field of five for Saturday's $100,000 Desi Arnaz Stakes, a 6 ½-furlong sprint for 2-year-old fillies. Sunday, he has three of the five entered, not coincidentally the top three choices on the morning line, in the seven furlong Grade 3 Bob Hope Stakes – Winning Map (7/5), Messier (8/5), and Kamui (5/2).

First the fillies:

“Under the Stars is a maiden (0-for-1) but she ran well the first time out and we feel she fits in there,” Baffert said. “It's a short field and an opportunity to get black type (stakes placing) on her record.

“Eda we think will like that distance.”

Eda, runner-up by a head to Elm Drive in the six-furlong G2 Sorrento Stakes in August, was the 6/5 favorite in the $300,000 G1 Del Mar Debutante on September 5. But Eda was cooked in a speed duel with Elm Drive which saw them put up fractions of :21.78 and :44.37 for the first half-mile of the seven-furlong test and fade to fifth.

“They went so fast (in the Debutante) that everything fell apart, which happens,” Baffert said with a chuckle and nod to Gamine as well as the $2 million Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff.

[Story Continues Below]

Now the colts in the Bob Hope:

“I hate to run them all together, but they're all doing well and deserve a shot,” the trainer offered.

Winning Map debuted with a 4 1/4-length victory in 1:10.20 for six furlongs at Santa Anita on October 3. Messier, is named after NHL Hall of Famer Mark Messier. Messier was a teammate of the Empire Maker colt's co-owner Tom Ryan's father-in-law, Pat Hughes, along with the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Paul Coffey, and Grant Fuhr on those legendary Edmonton Oilers teams of the 1980s.

Messier finished second in his first start on June 27 at Los Alamitos and came back on October 22 to win by 6 ½ lengths, matching the time over the same distance that Winning Map had produced three weeks earlier.

“We're taking the blinkers off Messier,” Baffert said. “He's not as quick as the others, but we think it's a good spot for him at a distance he'll like.”

Kamui was beaten a half-length by fellow Hope entrant Forbidden Kingdom at Del Mar on August 21 and came back to score by six lengths in a 5 ½-furlong sprint at Los Alamitos Race Course in Cypress, Calif., on September 11.

The field for the Bob Hope from the rail with jockeys and morning line odds in parentheses: Messier (Flavien Prat, 8/5); Kamui (Abel Cedillo, 5/2); Winning Map (Mike Smith, 7/5); Rock N Rye (Umberto Rispoli, 15-1), and Forbidden Kingdom (Juan Hernandez, 9/2).

Paulick Report Icon

Receive daily headlines, breaking news alerts, promotions, and much more!

Become An Insider

Support our journalism and access bonus content on our Patreon stream

Learn More