Baffert's Other Horse Wins Palos Verdes

A lightly raced, once-pricey juvenile trained by Bob Baffert won the GIII Palos Verdes S., but it wasn't chalk, the $3.65-million Fasig-Tipton 2-year-old Cezanne (Curlin). Instead it was the year-younger, $300,000 OBS April 2-year-old Essential Wager (Honor Code), who was making his stakes debut after riding a two-race win streak. Essential Wager left the gate smartly and came up on the inside to emerge from the early fray with the lead, marking the first quarter in :22.21 with Team Merchants (Nyquist) pressing from the outside. The two held position with...

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Cezanne Brings New Honor to Storied Family

While it remains too early to acclaim a masterpiece in the making, even these first, bold brushstrokes have plainly been mixed from an unusually vivid genetic palette. And if Cezanne (Curlin) can complete the canvas the way he has started, with a confident new flourish in the GIII Kona Gold S. last weekend, then he could become an exhibit for one of the principal galleries of the modern breed. Happily it has the most discerning of curators in John Sikura, who has been devotedly cultivating this family--Cezanne's third dam is...

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Pricey Cezanne Wins Big in Return to the Races

Cezanne (Curlin), who topped the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale in 2019 at $3.65 million, stamped himself as one to watch for this year with a dominant victory in Santa Anita's GIII Kona Gold S. Sunday evening. A debut winner going this same 6 1/2 furlongs last June, the Coolmore partners and St. Elias Stable representative doubled up going a mile at Los Alamitos in July. He was most recently fourth in Del Mar's Aug. 1 Shared Belief S. behind million-dollar stablemate Thousand Words (Pioneerof the Nile) and $850,000 GISW Honor A....

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Cezanne Working Towards Comeback

Cezanne (Curlin), who topped the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale when bringing a final bid of $3.65 million from M.V. Magnier, is training steadily for his return to the races, most recently working five furlongs in 1:00.00 (4/21) Thursday at Santa Anita for trainer Bob Baffert. "He's doing well," Baffert reported following the work Thursday. "We just freshened him up." Racing for Susan Magnier, Derrick Smith, and Michael Tabor, as well as co-breeder St. Elias Stable, Cezanne opened his career with a 2 1/4-length victory going 6 1/2 furlongs last June...

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Plenty of Contenders in Pat Day Mile

One-turn mile graded races always attract intriguing fields, and Saturday's GII Pat Day Mile S. for sophomores at Churchill is no exception. Favored on the morning line is the Coolmore contingent's $3.65-million Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream buy Cezanne (Curlin). A debut winner sprinting at Santa Anita June 6, he added a first-level allowance tally going this distance (but around two turns) at Los Alamitos July 2. The Bob Baffert trainee didn't necessarily win like his 1-9 odds that day suggested he might, however, and then could only manage fourth--albeit while earning a...

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This Side Up: D-Day for Baffert's Coolmore Pair

He's like the clean-cut, wide-eyed rookie sent into the lines, trying to read the expressions of the relieved troops. What might the likes of Charlatan (Speightstown) and Nadal (Blame) tell this star cadet, as they hand over the trenches, to steel him for the challenges ahead? Cezanne (Curlin) probably thinks they could do with a shave, and shouldn't be smoking on duty. But then he will notice the medals on their chests, and start to ask himself whether he too will step up; whether he will live up to everything...

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Brisnet.com Triple Crown Throwdown: Shared Belief

Ed DeRosa of Brisnet.com takes on TDN's Steve Sherack and Brian DiDonato as they handicap Triple Crown prep races plus the big three races themselves. The three will make $100 Win/Place bets in the preps and $200 Win/Place bets in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont. Highest bankroll at the end wins. DeRosa - Haskell Result - Longshot Jesus' Team was fourth. Bankroll: $4960. Shared Belief S. - The Shared Belief could provide needed points to Cezanne and lagniappe to Honor A. P., so we'll go with the horse who...

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Honor A.P. Faces Off With Baffert Duo in Shared Belief

Honor A.P. (Honor Code) looks to add more GI Kentucky Derby points to his collection in Saturday's Shared Belief S. at Del Mar. An impressive second-out graduate when extending from six panels to a mile at Santa Anita in October, the $850,000 FTSAUG buy was runner-up to recent GI Haskell Invitational S. victor Authentic (Into Mischief) in the GII San Felipe S. Mar. 7. The dark bay turned the tables on that rival last time with a decisive score in the GI Santa Anita Derby June 6. Bob Baffert had...

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The TDN Derby Top 12 for June 9

by T.D. Thornton The GI Kentucky Derby is still three months away but the Triple Crown starts in less than two weeks with the GI Belmont S. The coronavirus has upended the traditional schedule, but it hasn't dampened the intrigue and interest to see who'll end up atop the crop. 1) TIZ THE LAW (c, Constitution--Tizfiz, by Tiznow) O-Sackatoga Stable. B-Twin Creeks Farm (NY). T-Barclay Tagg. Sales History: $110,000 yrl '18 FTNAUG. Lifetime Record: MGISW, 5-4-0-1, $945,300. Last Start: 1st GI Curlin Florida Derby, GP, Mar. 28 Accomplishments Include: 1st...

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The Week in Review: 'Honor' System Produces Pair of Strong Bi-Coastal Stakes Wins

In a non-pandemic world, this column would be wrapping up the just-concluded Triple Crown, and top-level graded stakes racing in America would be going into that early-summer lull between the spring Classics and the July openings of Saratoga and Del Mar. But this is the new normal imposed by COVID-19, and one of the post-lockdown perks it provides is that elite-level on-track action is just now starting to heat up. Belmont Park's stakes-centric card on Saturday dovetailed nicely into Santa Anita's gauntlet of graded races, and top honors for best...

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Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Topper Debuts a Winner at Santa Anita

6th-Santa Anita, $51,000, Msw, 6-6, 3yo/up, 6 1/2f, 1:16.13, ft. CEZANNE (c, 3, Curlin--Achieving, by Bernardini) topped last year's Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale at $3.65-million after breezing in :10 flat (see below) and started off his career on the right hoof here with a debut graduation. Away well from the one-hole, the hulking bay engaged in a three-way battle for second, hot on the leader's heels through a :22.19 opening quarter, Drawing even with the pacesetter on the backstretch, the 2-5 chalk shrugged off his stubborn foe in mid-stretch and rolled...

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Saturday's Insights: First Brush Strokes on Cezanne's Career

6th-SA, $50K, Msw, 3yo/up, 6 1/2f, 6:03 p.m. ET CEZANNE (Curlin), the second-highest-priced 2-year-old to sell at public auction when bringing $3.65 million (:10) at last year's Fasig-Tipton March sale, makes his long-awaited debut after a string of works highlighted by a bullet :47 3/5 half (1/47) last Saturday. Sharing a name with the French post-impressionist artist, the colt looks to match his career to the masterpiece that is his pedigree. Third dam, 2007 Broodmare of the Year Better Than Honour (Deputy Minister), sold for a world-record $14 million at...

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