Saturday Runners Return Fine, Look To The Future

Arabian Knight | Benoit Photo

Three conditioners divided-up the five graded stakes races on Pacific Classic Day. Bob Baffert and Phil D'Amato won two each and Doug O'Neill grabbed the other one. It should come as no surprise to anyone that the three winning trainers top the trainer standings at Del Mar heading into Sunday's racing.

Bob Baffert was in the grandstand Sunday morning watching some of his horses work. Back at the barn, his Pacific Classic winner, Arabian Knight (Uncle Mo) was resting-up from his race; Baffert indicating the 'TDN Rising Star' came out of the race fine.

“That was a good race for him,” Baffert says. “He ran hard.”

Arabian Knight punched his ticket to the Breeders' Cup Classic with his wire-to-wire win Saturday and time will tell as to whether or not he'll run in a prep before the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita in November.

“We don't know what we're going to do there yet,” Baffert says. “We'll give him a couple weeks.”

Same could be said for his rival Geaux Rocket Ride (Candy Ride {Arg}), who came up a neck short. It was a winning effort and for that he got to sleep in.

“We haven't had him out of bed yet,” trainer Richard Mandella said Sunday morning, “but he looked good last night. I think he'll be all right.”

The third-place finisher in the Pacific Classic also came out of his race in good order. Trainer Doug O'Neill says Slow Down Andy (Nyquist) will be pointed to the Breeders' Cup but he did not mention a prep race.

O'Neill's assistant, Leandro Mora, was very proud of  Andy'.

“He just needs a little change in luck,” Mora says with a smile. “We need Baffert to go somewhere else. He sure can do those big races.”

On the East Coast, all was well with the runners from Saturday's GI Jockey Club Gold Cup. Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher said he was pleased with the effort from Bright Future (Curlin) and that he emerged from the race in good order.

“He looks excellent and came out of the race well,” said Pletcher. “Happy guy.”

Trainer Michael Stidham expressed a strong sense of pride in Godolphin's homebred Proxy (Tapit) who, despite lacking racing room down the backstretch, was able to launch a strong stretch drive to come up a nose shy of the victory.

“He certainly stamped himself in that top group to go to the Breeders' Cup,” Stidham said. “I would say right now, we're looking at just going straight to the Breeders' Cup.”

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