Baffert's Ownership Group Clarifies Move of Horses


Doppelganger | Benoit photo

SF Bloodstock's Tom Ryan, representing the ownership group which moved four top three-year-olds to other barns last week, posted a statement on Twitter Friday night clarifying the impetus of the move.

“In light of recent commentary, our ownership group wishes to clear up a couple of misconceptions that have arisen about the transfer of our potential Derby horses to Rodolphe Brisset and Tim Yakteen,” Ryan wrote. “The owners alone made this decision, and they did so in order to give the horses the opportunity they deserve to compete in this year's Kentucky Derby. There has been some suggestion that Bob Baffert might obtain a financial benefit from the transfer of these horses and that he may somehow remain involved in their management. Both are incorrect. Bob has no financial or other interest in any of the horses, nor will he act in any direct or indirect advisory role for their training or racing while they are in the hands of other trainers. We understand the conditions Churchill Downs has established for the future accrual of Derby points and entry into the Derby and we intend to fully comply with them.”

'TDN Rising Star' Messier (Empire Maker), 'Rising Star' Doppelganger (Into Mischief) and McLaren Vale (Gun Runner) were sent to trainer Tim Yakteen, and will remain in Southern California. Blackadder (Quality Road) has been sent to the barn of Rodolphe Brisset in Kentucky.



Under the suspension imposed upon Baffert by Churchill Downs, the four horses would not have been eligible to earn Kentucky Derby qualifying points or to race in the Derby had they remained with Baffert.

All four are owned in partnership by the conglomerate nicknamed The Avengers, which includes SF Bloodstock, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables et al. Doppelganger is scheduled to run in Saturday's GI Arkansas Derby, while Messier is expected to run in the Apr. 9 GI Santa Anita Derby. According to an additional tweet by Ryan, McLaren Vale is no longer being considered for the Santa Anita Derby.

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