Fighting Mad Caps Another Big Weekend for Baffert

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Fighting Mad | Benoit Photo

Lightly raced Fighting Mad (New Year’s Day) zipped away early and held sway late to take Sunday evening’s GI Clement L. Hirsch S. at Del Mar and stamp her ticket to the GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Looking to add to another productive weekend for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert that included Saturday scores in the GI Whitney S. and Shared Belief S., the Gary and Mary West homebred was backed down to 9-5 favoritism from a 4-1 morning line quote and wasted little time seizing command. Under a tight Abel Cedillo hold, the bay doled out splits of

:23.15 and :46.55 before being asked to kick away from her competition heading for home. Defending champion Ollie’s Candy (Candy Ride {Arg}) and MGISW Ce Ce (Elusive Quality) were scrubbed on to try and reel in the leader approaching the stretch, but Fighting Mad began to open up at the head of the lane as Ce Ce was the first to capitulate. Ollie’s Candy kept on gamely to cut things close late, but Fighting Mad found the wire with a half-length to spare. Ce Ce held on for a distant third, while the accomplished Hard Not to Love (Hard Spun) never reached contention and brought up the rear.

“I had the same instructions today that I had yesterday [for Thousand Words {Pioneerof the Nile} in the Shared Belief]–get her out of there and see if you can get to the front,” Cedillo said. “She really broke sharply and wanted to go right away. I got her to relax some on the backside, then she went right on with it. She’s just an amazing filly.”

Sunday, Del Mar
CLEMENT L. HIRSCH S.-GI, $250,500, Del Mar, 8-2, 3yo/up, f/m, 1 1/16m, 1:43.46, ft.
1–FIGHTING MAD, 123, f, 4, by New Year’s Day
                1st Dam: Smokey’s Love, by Forestry
                2nd Dam: Smokey Mirage, by Holy Bull
                3rd Dam: Verbasle, by Slewpy
1ST GRADE I WIN. O-Gary & Mary West; B-Gary & Mary West
Stables Inc. (KY); T-Bob Baffert; J-Abel Cedillo. $150,000.
Lifetime Record: 8-5-1-0, $444,008. Werk Nick Rating: B+. 
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Ollie’s Candy, 123, m, 5, by Candy Ride (Arg)
                1st Dam: Afternoon Stroll, by Stroll
                2nd Dam: Gertie, by Danzatore
                3rd Dam: Granny Ruth, by Key to the Mint
($45,000 RNA Ylg ’16 KEESEP). O/B-Paul & Karen Eggert (KY);
T-John W. Sadler. $50,000.
3–Ce Ce, 125, f, 4, by Elusive Quality
                1st Dam: Miss Houdini, by Belong to Me
                2nd Dam: Magical Maiden, by Lord Avie
                3rd Dam: Gils Magic, by Magesterial
O/B-Bo Hirsch LLC (KY); T-Michael W. McCarthy. $30,000.
Margins: HF, 4 3/4, 3 1/4. Odds: 1.80, 3.40, 2.40.
Also Ran: Hang a Star, Dogtag, Hard Not to Love.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

“I was a little bit worried about her because she was getting pretty warm in the paddock, but Abel knows her pretty well and he knows speed is her weapon,” Baffert said. “To look at her you wouldn’t think she could go [a distance], but when she started opening up, I figured he must know what he’s doing. Basically, she ran them off their feet. The way she acted in the paddock, she ran an incredible race. She was trembling and sweating and I was worried, but once the race started she was pretty serious. ”

A nose graduate on debut here in her lone juvenile start two years ago, Fighting Mad resurfaced at Churchill to take an allowance last April. She faded to seventh in Pimlico’s GIII Miss Preakness S. that May, and resurfaced back at Del Mar to be a close second in an optional claimer July 19. Fighting Mad’s first two-turn attempt resulted in an eight-length romp in the GIII Torrey Pines S. Aug. 17, but she was again sidelined after that. The bay crossed the wire fourth in Santa Anita’s six-furlong GIII Desert Stormer S. May 17 before being moved to fourth by the stewards, and belied 10-1 odds last time when running away with the GII Santa Maria S. in Arcadia May 21 over Hard Not to Love and Ce Ce and recent GIII Molly Pitcher S. scorer Horologist (Gemologist).

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