Report: Corniche to Freshen at WinStar Before Returning to Baffert

Corniche Breeders' Cup/Eclipse Sportswire

Presumptive 2-year-old champion male and GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile hero Corniche (Quality Road) will be freshened briefly at WinStar Farm in Kentucky this winter before returning to Bob Baffert's barn, according to a report in Daily Racing Form. Marette Farrell, who purchased the $1.5-million colt for Speedway Stable, said Corniche was sent to Kentucky last Wednesday.

“It's time to give him a little bit of a break,” Farrell told DRF. “Speedway likes to use WinStar for lay-ups. He can be turned out, graduate to a paddock, and they have a track, too. It's important to get a break mentally. A change of scenery is good for all of us.”

The ongoing subplot regarding Corniche and Baffert's other potential GI Kentucky Derby contenders is what the respective ownerships will do with their horses as the Derby, now a little over five months away, inches closer on the calendar. Baffert was suspended for two years from running horses at Churchill Downs after his Medina Spirit (Protonico) tested positive for an overage of betamethasone in this year's Derby.

If that suspension holds, it would likely prompt owners to move their horses from Baffert in time to run in the May 7 Derby. But for now, Peter Fluor and KC Weiner's Speedway is staying loyal to Baffert, as Farrell said the plan is to return Corniche to Baffert's barn at Santa Anita after his freshening.

“Peter wants to be loyal,” she said. “Corniche won the Breeders' Cup, and he's a possible 2-year-old champion. No decisions have been made–there hasn't even been any talk about another trainer, or who he'd go to if he needs to go to another trainer. If the time comes that a decision needs to be made, if it needs to be that way, we'll put our heads together and make a decision.”

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