Baffert Crew Regroups

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Bob Baffert | Breeders’ Cup/Eclipse Sportswire

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert reported that all 11 of his Breeders’ Cup runners emerged from their races in fine condition Sunday morning, including North America’s all-time richest Thoroughbred Arrogate (Unbridled’s Song), who was a disappointing fifth in the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“He just went through the motions,” Baffert said. “At the end, he started taking off a little bit. Today in the stall, he’s all amped up. He broke flat-footed and then he got into it, but not at anytime did I ever think [he would challenge Gun Runner]. He was just in that long stride and just coming around there. He didn’t have that fire that he usually has.”

Winner of the GI Travers S., GI Breeders’ Cup Classic, GI Pegasus World Cup and G1 Dubai World Cup in an unprecedented four-race tour de-force in late 2016 and early 2017, Arrogate was scheduled to be retired to stud at Juddmonte Farms following Saturday’s race. Baffert also saddled Collected (City Zip) and West Coast (Flatter) to finish second and third, respectively, behind Gun Runner (Candy Ride {Arg}) in the Classic.

“[Collected] got a little tired there at the end, but he was going toe to toe with that horse pretty well,” Baffert said. “For an instant there I thought maybe he was going to put him away, but Gun Runner was just too tough…West Coast, I thought he would be coming late. I think he wanted to be a closer, too. I didn’t really want to have all of them too close there.”

Both horses are expected to return to training in 2018 and are considered candidates for the Jan. 27 $16-million GI Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park. Baffert’s eighth-place finisher Mubtaahij (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}), is also likely to return in the new year.

Meanwhile 2016’s champion sprinter Drefong (Gio Ponti) was a punchless sixth after breaking slowly from post two in the GI Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Baffert said a decision on the 4-year-old’s future would be made in the coming weeks.

A definite bright spot for Baffert during the weekend was the runner-up finish put forth by Zayat Stable’s Solomini (Curlin) in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. The colt finished 4 1/4 lengths behind winner Good Magic (Curlin), an East Coast invader from the Chad Brown barn.

“He was on the hot pace and then he was out there by himself,” Baffert said. “He got beat by a pretty good horse. Chad Brown was telling me that it was his best 2-year-old. He ran well. He’s getting better. I thought he could move way up, but he’s not there yet.”

Looking back to Friday, Baffert said he was unsure what was ahead for GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile beaten favorite Mor Spirit (Eskendereya), but confirmed that Cupid (Tapit) was certain to be retired to Coolmore’s Ashford Stud. Coolmore’s Charlie O’Connor confirmed the news, adding that the farm is excited to welcome the GI Gold Cup at Santa Anita winner.

“Cupid has all the credentials you look for in a sire,” O’Connor said. “He’s a Grade I winner by Tapit from one of the most commercial families in the stud book and he has the looks to match. We can’t wait to get him to the farm so breeders can come by and see him. I’m sure they won’t be disappointed.”

Cupid’s stud fee will be announced shortly, according to O’Connor.

 

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