Improbable

Keeneland Catalogs 3,777 Horses for November Breeding Stock Sale

Keeneland has cataloged 3,777 horses for the 2020 November Breeding Stock Sale, which opens Monday, Nov. 9, two days after Keeneland hosts the Breeders' Cup World Championships for the second time. Buyers will be able to participate in the auction remotely through online and telephone bidding options successfully introduced at the September Yearling Sale, while the new bidding location at the Show Barn next to the Sales Pavilion again will be available to allow for proper social distancing. Keeneland's COVID-19 protocols for the November Sale will be similar to those...

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The Week in Review: Clout Heading into Classic, Older Horses or Upstart Sophs?

We're now inside the six-week mark for the GI Breeders' Cup Classic. Is your money on an older horse winning the season-capping dirt route championship race or one of the 3-year-olds? Both divisions have a respectable upper crust of candidates. Neither age group has a dominant, standout star who towers over his peers. Improbable (City Zip)'s last-to-first, 4 1/2-length shakedown of the GI Awesome Again S. field at Santa Anita this past Saturday nudged him into tepid early favoritism for the Classic. The Oct. 10 GI Jockey Club Gold Cup...

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Improbable Romps In the Awesome Again

The lesser-fancied of the Bob Baffert-trained duo, 'TDN Rising Star' Improbable (City Zip) was uncustomarily taken well off a fast early pace, began to hit his best stride while wide on the second turn, inhaled the leading group in upper stretch and rolled home to defeat odds-on Maximum Security (New Year's Day) by 4 1/2 lengths in the GI Awesome Again S. at Santa Anita. Though he hadn't been more than two lengths off the early pace in any of his last four races, Improbable was taken back to last...

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Baffert Appears to Have Stranglehold on Awesome Again

Twice in its last seven runnings, the GI Awesome Again S. has produced the winner of the GI Breeders' Cup Classic, with Mucho Macho Man (Macho Uno) and Accelerate (Lookin At Lucky) completing the double in 2013 and 2018, respectively. Just a field of five faces the starter this weekend for the nine-furlong test--a 'Win and You're In' qualifier for the Classic--but the two marquee horses have legitimate claims at Keeneland in six weeks' time. Maximum Security (New Year's Day), whose topsy-turvy championship sophomore season saw him miss a start...

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Maximum Security, Improbable Both Being Pointed to Awesome Again

Stablemates Maximum Security (New Year's Day) and 'TDN Rising Star' Improbable (City Zip) will face one another in Saturday's GI Awesome Again S. at Santa Anita, trainer Bob Baffert has confirmed. Baffert had earlier discussed shipping Maximum Security to New York for the GI Jockey Club Gold Cup, but instead will race him this weekend in his own backyard. Via text, Baffert said he thought the race was a good fit for both horses because he likes the spacing and the fact that no one has to ship. The Jockey...

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Gamine, Improbable, Storm the Court Tune Up at Del Mar

'TDN Rising Stars' Gamine (Into Mischief) and Improbable (City Zip), each victorious in Grade I company at Saratoga in their most recent appearances, tuned up for their next engagements at Del Mar Saturday morning. Michael Lund Petersen's Gamine, towering winner of the GI Longines Test S. Aug. 8, worked five furlongs in 1:00.80 (XBTV video) in the company of her stakes-winning stablemate and fellow 'Rising Star' Quality Response (Quality Road). With Juan Ochoa in the saddle, the $220,000 Keeneland September yearling turned $1.8-million Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-old sales topper was timed...

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Week in Review: Faves Fail to Show on Saturday, but Excuses Abound

This past Saturday wasn't a great day to be a favorite in an open stakes race at the nation's premier race meets. Chalk horses went a collective one-for-seven at Saratoga and Del Mar, and the list of excuses included stutter-step starts, bumps leaving the gate, stretch-run roughhousing, getting disqualified, and being dueled into defeat in internal pace battles. Tight finishes in several stakes elevated the interest level, although the results in general did not lend clarity to the nationwide divisional races with the GI Kentucky Derby inside the five-week mark...

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Whitney Day Generates Record All-Sources Handle

Saturday's 12-race GI Whitney S. Day card generated an all-sources handle record of $35,796,435, eclipsing the previous Whitney Day record of $31,835,863 set in 2019. 2019 Whitney Day, which was held Aug. 3, saw paid attendance of 40,791 with fans on the grounds of Saratoga wagering $4,658,622.

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Improbable Provides Baffert With Back-to-Back Whitneys

'TDN Rising Star' Improbable (City Zip) scored back-to-back Grade I victories and provided his conditioner Bob Baffert with his second straight renewal of Saratoga's prestigious GI Whitney S. Saturday with a dominant score in this 'Win and You're In' event for the GI Breeders' Cup Classic. Heavily Favored Tom's d'Etat (Smart Strike) missed the break and was relegated to last early as native New Yorker Mr Buff (Friend or Foe) took command, loping through early splits of :25.12 and :49.74 with 3-1 shot Improbable keeping close tabs from second. Improbable...

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Code of Honor Attempts Travers-Whitney Double

Last year's GI Travers S. hero Code of Honor (Noble Mission {GB}) looks to become the first horse since Medaglia d'Oro in 2002/2003 to complete the Travers-GI Whitney S. double Saturday at Saratoga and secure a spot in the starting gate for the GI Breeders' Cup Classic. Capturing the GIII Dwyer S. last term prior to his Travers score, the W.S. Farish homebred came up a nose short of champion Vino Rosso (Curlin) in the GI Jockey Club Gold Cup S. in September, but was promoted to first via DQ....

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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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Improbable Rolls Home in Hollywood Gold Cup

Improbable gave the Bob Baffert a measure of consolation following Authentic (Into Mischief)'s defeat in the GI Santa Anita Derby, winning the GI Hollywood Gold Cup in a common gallop as the 6-5 favorite. Sent along by Drayden Van Dyke to stalk a steady pace set by longshot Brown Storm (Chi) (Scat Daddy) from second, the $110,000 Keeneland November weanling and $200,000 Keeneland September yearling traveled well within himself through the middle stages before being sent into the lead at the three-eighths pole. While he was traveling supremely well, he...

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