Thoroughbred Daily News
West Coast Flatter - Caressing, by Honour and Glory
Lane's End Versailles, KY | 2014 | Entered Stud 2019 | 2019 Fee $35,000

Undefeated Baffert Colts Headline Both Rebel Divisions


Game Winner | Horsephotos

By Christie DeBernardis

Bob Baffert has already won six renewals of Oaklawn’s GII Rebel S. and Saturday he has a strong chance to capture two more in the same year as his undefeated colts, Game Winner (Candy Ride {Arg}) and Improbable (City Zip), headline their respective divisions of the race. The Rebel was split to the temporary closure of Santa Anita, which caused the cancellation of one of the Arcadia oval’s GI Kentucky Derby preps, the GII San Felipe S., which was set to run Mar. 9. Both colts were scheduled to run in that spot, but now with Oaklawn offering the split to accommodate more horses, Baffert is able to keep them separated a little longer.

‘TDN Rising Star’ Improbable is in the first division to run Saturday and many are anxious to see the colt return to action after a perfect three-for-three juvenile campaign. A debut winner sprinting at Santa Anita Sept. 29, the flashy chestnut romped in Churchill Downs’ one-mile Street Sense S. Nov. 2 and followed suit with a decisive score over next-out graded winner and fellow ‘Rising Star’ Mucho Gusto (Mucho Macho Man) in the GI Los Alamitos Futurity S. Dec. 8.

California native Galilean (Uncle Mo) makes his first start outside of restricted/state-bred company here. Breaking his maiden at first asking in the Barretts Juvenile S. Sept. 22, the $600,000 BARAPR topper finished second to ‘TDN Rising Star’ Cruel Intentions (Smiling Tiger) in the Golden State Juvenile S. Nov. 3. He was a dominant winner of his next two outings in the Dec. 16 King Glorious S. and the Feb. 18 California Cup Derby.

Also making the trip in from California is Extra Hope (Shanghai Bobby), who finished third in the Los Al Futurity and kicked off this term with an optional claimer win at Santa Anita Jan. 31.

Louisiana-bred Classy John (Songandaprayer) has never been worse than second in five outings for Dallas Stewart, but he takes a major step up in class here. A debut winner at Saratoga on Travers day, he was second in a Churchill Downs optional claimer Nov. 10 and won against fellow LA-breds in the Dec. 8 Louisiana Juvenile S. and the Dec. 29 Louisiana Futurity S. He was last seen finishing second in the LA-Bred Premier Night Prince S. Feb. 9.

Juvenile Champ Returns in Div. 2

Reigning champion juvenile and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Game Winner looms large in this sophomore bow with a perfect record that includes three Grade I victories. An impressive winner of his Del Mar unveiling Aug. 18, the bay bested his more-fancied stablemate Roadster (Quality Road) in the GI Del Mar Futurity S. Sept. 3 and followed suit with a 4 1/2-length triumph in the GI American Pharoah S. in Arcadia Sept. 29. He proved more than able to overcome adversity when overcoming a trouble trip for a 2 1/4-length success in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs Nov. 3.

Runner-up to the divisional leader in the American Pharoah, Gunmetal Gray (Exchange Rate) was off the board in the Breeders’ Cup, but opened his sophomore account with a late-running score in the GIII Sham S. Jan. 5. He ran second behind GIII Sunland Derby-bound Mucho Gusto last time in the GIII Robert B. Lewis S. Feb. 2. Fellow California raider Omaha Beach (War Front), enters off a nine-length graduation at fifth asking going seven panels in the slop at Santa Anita Feb. 2 for the Hall of Fame team of Mike Smith and Richard Mandella.

Our Braintrust (Freud) could get up for a piece in this Derby prep. Opening his account with a pair of wins, including Belmont’s Tremont S. June 8, he was second in both the state-bred Maryland Juvenile S. Dec. 8 and Aqueduct’s Jerome S. Jan. 1 for trainer and part-owner Cathal Lynch and his partner Stanton Smith. Privately purchased by Gary Barber and transferred to Mark Casse, the dark bay was third, beaten just a head and a neck, in a blanket finish in Aqueduct’s nine-panel GIII Withers S. Feb. 2.


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