Baffert May Send Three to Saratoga, Including Imagination

Imagination Preakness week | C Bossinakis


It appears that Imagination (Into Mischief) is going to get another trip east.

The 3-year-old colt, last seen finishing seventh in the eight-horse GI Preakness S., may be part of a three-horse contingent that Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert is sending to the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival at Saratoga Race Course June 6-9.

Imagination and fellow 3-year-old Prince of Monaco (Speightstown), who was last seen finishing fifth in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita in November, are being pointed to the seven-furlong GI Woody Stephens S.

Baffert is also planning on running 4-year-old National Treasure (Quality Road) in the GI Metropolitan Handicap.

Those races are part of the nine-race stakes schedule on June 8 with the highlight being the GI Belmont S.

All three horses are scheduled to work Friday or Saturday at Santa Anita, Baffert said.

“As long as they work well–and I don't see why they wouldn't–they would ship Sunday,” Baffert said by phone from Southern California. “I don't put them on the plane unless I know they are doing really well.”

After vying for the early lead with Preakness winner Seize the Grey (Arrogate), Imagination faded out of contention for jockey Frankie Dettori over a Pimlico Race Course track labeled “muddy.”

Baffert said he is willing to draw a line through the race, which was the first in Imagination's seven-race career where he did not win or finish second.

“I think the mud maybe made him rank and he was rank the whole way around there,” Baffert said. “He just didn't have anything at the end.”

Imagination has not worked since the week before the Preakness.

Prince of Monaco, like Imagination, is owned by SF Racing LLC and partners. He had won his first three starts before the Breeders' Cup, including the GI Del Mar Futurity

He has been working regularly since April and had a bullet five-furlong breeze on Sunday. Prince of Monaco was timed in :58.80 (1/36).

“We would have liked to get a race into him before something like this,” Baffert said, “but it was hard to get it. He worked really well the other day.”

National Treasure will be racing for the first time since finishing fourth in the G1 Saudi Cup on Feb. 24. He returned to the work tab Apr. 12 and has breezed four times, including a six-furlong work in 1:11 (1/7) on Saturday.

Among his highlights last year, National Treasure won the Preakness and was second, beaten a nose, by Cody's Wish (Curlin) in the GI Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.

Before going to Saudi earlier this year, National Treasure, also owned by the SF Racing LLC group, won the GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational S. at Gulfstream Park.

“He looks good, the way he worked the other day, he came back well,” Baffert said. “He fits. When he is on, he is a tough, good horse.”

Baffert also said that Muth (Good Magic), the 8-5 Preakness morning-line favorite who was scratched because of a fever, continues to recover. Muth stayed in Baltimore an extra week after the Preakness before heading back to California.

Baffert said that Muth had his first day back at the track on Wednesday at Santa Anita. The next goal for the GI Arkansas Derby winner, Baffert said, is the GI Haskell Invitational S. at Monmouth Park July 20.



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