Last year's champion 2-year-old colt Corniche (Quality Road) has been moved to trainer Todd Pletcher's barn from suspended conditioner Bob Baffert's outfit, his owners Peter Fluor and K.C. Weiner of Speedway Stable said in a joint statement Monday. Baffert is currently serving a 90-day suspension handed down by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission that began Apr. 4 and runs through July 2.
“Since Corniche's previous trainer, Bob Baffert, cannot begin training until the first week in July and, after a discussion with Bob, we felt that for Corniche to be ready to compete in June, it is necessary that we make a trainer change at this time,” Fluor said. “To that end, Todd Pletcher will commence training Corniche in early May. K.C. and I are most appreciative of Bob's brilliant handling of Corniche's 2-year-old campaign and ultimately providing Speedway Stables with its first Breeders Cup winner and Eclipse Award champion.”
Named a 'TDN Rising Star' off a dazzling debut romp last summer at Del Mar, Corniche legitimized that distinction with subsequent victories in the GI American Pharoah S. and GI Breeders' Cup Classic to lock up his Eclipse Award. He has yet to start as a 3-year-old and has been laid up at WinStar, where he recorded a pair of workouts in the past few weeks, going three furlongs in :36.80 (2/5) Apr. 15 and a half-mile in :48.94 (2/3) Apr. 23. The $1.5-million OBS April buy will be sent straight to Pletcher at the conclusion of his time at WinStar.