The Avengers

Newgrange Faces Familiar Foes in Rebel

Bob Baffert trainee Newgrange (Violence), last seen taking Oaklawn's GIII Southwest S. Jan. 29 to up his record to three-for-three, faces 10 rivals including the next four Southwest finishers in Saturday's $1-million GII Rebel S. back in Hot Springs. Campaigned by the stallion-making conglomerate nicknamed The Avengers, the handsome dark bay was a debut winner sprinting at Del Mar in November before stretching out to a mile to annex Santa Anita's GIII Sham S. Jan. 1. He seemed to be spinning his wheels for much of the Southwest, but leveled...

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Taking Stock: Quality of Baffert and Hancock with The Avengers

Bob Baffert is banned from Churchill Downs for two years and his 3-year-olds are ineligible for points in qualifying races for the Gl Kentucky Derby and Gl Kentucky Oaks. He may also get banned (again) from NYRA, which hosts the Gl Belmont S., which could leave only the Gl Preakness open to horses from his barn. So perhaps it's appropriate that he won a race over the weekend--the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate--that gives the winner a guaranteed entry to the middle leg of the Triple Crown. Blackadder,...

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Messier Bounces Back and Blows Them Away in Bob Lewis

Messier gave trainer Bob Baffert and jockey John Velazquez their second dominant graded winner of the afternoon when he flew home an unchallenged victor of the GIII Robert B. Lewis S. at Santa Anita Sunday. Shedding the blinkers after getting outkicked in the Dec. 11 GII Los Alamitos Futurity last time out, the 3-5 favorite tugged his way to the fore with little encouragement from Velazquez. Second choice Sir London (Malibu Moon) chased the pace with longshot Cabo Spirit latched on the top two while racing three deep. Sir London...

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Violence's Newgrange Stays Perfect in Southwest

Just minutes after his high-profile ownership conglomerate suffered a relative disappointment when running second, third and fourth with 60% of the field in the GII San Vicente S. at Santa Anita, unbeaten Newgrange (Violence) found his best stride late to justify 3-2 favoritism in Oaklawn's $750,000 GIII Southwest S. Entering off a debut sprint win Nov. 28 and front-running GIII Sham S. tally at Santa Anita Jan. 1, the handsome dark bay broke well and took the first turn perched three deep. He dropped back a bit while still kept...

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'New' Year, Same Story in Sham

Already with a record seven GIII Sham S. trophies, including the two prior runnings and three of the last four, trainer Bob Baffert and the ever-present ownership group nicknamed The Avengers celebrated another big score Saturday at Santa Anita with front-running Newgrange (Violence). The handsome dark bay earned an 80 Beyer Speed Figure for a 1 1/2-length debut tally at Del Mar Nov. 28 over pricey and highly regarded Got Thunder (Arrogate), who was second to newly minted Avengers-owned 'TDN Rising Star' Wharton (Candy Ride {Arg}) Friday afternoon. Away as...

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Candy Ride Colt Graduates a 'Rising Star' at Santa Anita

Though he was a bit chilly on the board for a Bob Baffert-trained, John Velazquez-ridden, $475,000 KEESEP buy by the powerful ownership conglomerate nicknamed The Avengers, Wharton (Candy Ride {Arg}--Her Smile, by Include) earned 'TDN Rising Star'-dom all the same Friday as he left a highly regarded second timer in his wake at Santa Anita. Stablemate McLaren Vale (Gun Runner) had taken the first of split sprint divisions two races earlier by a length in 1:17.81, but this looked like the stronger group on paper, in large part due to...

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Friday's Racing Insights: Bevy of Pricey, Well-Bred Runners Squeeze in '21 Starts

Sponsored by Alex Nichols Agency 2nd-TAM, $26.5K, Msw, 3yo/up, 1m40yds, 1:08 p.m. ET    While their other four competitors are a combined 0-for-37, late-debuting newcomers Aussie Pride (Curlin) and Mint (Bodemeister) sport huge pedigrees and in one case, a massive price tag. The former, who carries the Godolphin blue for trainer Bill Mott, was the second topper at the 2019 Keeneland September sale at a gaudy $4.1 million. He's out of New Zealand champion sprinter Bounding (Aus) (Lonhro {Aus}), who is a half to G1 Investec Derby hero Anthony Van...

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Messier Takes Next Step at Los Al

'TDN Rising Star' Messier (Empire Maker) will look to take his talent around two turns as a prohibitive favorite in Saturday's GII Los Alamitos Futurity. A $470,000 FTKSEL buy by the powerful ownership conglomerate nicknamed The Avengers, the bay settled for second at 1-2 in his local unveiling July 27. He resurfaced at Santa Anita Oct. 22 after a minor foot issue, and blew away his competition by 6 1/2 lengths. The son of MSW router Checkered Past (Smart Strike) made similarly short work of Del Mar's GIII Bob Hope...

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Street Sense Colt the Latest 'Rising Star' for Avengers

Murray (Street Sense), the most fancied of a trio of Bob Baffert-trained juveniles owned by the stallion-making conglomerate most easily referred to as "The Avengers" and seeking their diplomas in Del Mar's second race Sunday, blew past the buzzed-about even-money Peter Miller newcomer Drink the Wind (More Than Ready) en route to 'TDN Rising Star'-dom. The $300,000 Keeneland September yearling broke on top at 5-2 but Drink the Wind was ridden along to seize a clear lead. Murray was content to sit second under Flavien Prat and began to ratchet...

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Sunday's Racing Insights: Avengers Unveil Pricey Pair

Sponsored by Alex Nichols Agency  6th-LRC, $45K, Msw, 2yo, 5f, post time: 6:28 p.m. ET The stallion-making syndicate nicknamed "The Avengers" will be represented by a pricey pair of yearling buys here conditioned by Bob Baffert. Favored at 6-5 on the morning line is Messier (Empire Maker), who was the most expensive buy by his late sire last year when he brought $470,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Select Yearlings Showcase. The bay is out of two-turn stakes winner Checkered Past (Smart Strike) from a Sam-Son family that includes Canadian champions Catch...

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Buzzed-About Bezos Shows Up at Second Asking

6th-Santa Anita, $61,500, Msw, 3-26, 3yo, 1m, 1:37.64, ft, 4 1/2 lengths. BEZOS (c, 3, Empire Maker--A P Mink, by A.P. Indy) failed to live up to the immense hype when seventh at 3-5 behind 'TDN Rising Star' Dream Shake (Twirling Candy) sprinting here Feb. 7, but he made good on the buzz this time while getting more ground to work with. Shedding the blinkers this time, the handsome bay was off at 7-5 in the field of five. Away well from the rail, Bezos took the lead into the...

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Taking Stock: Keeneland Numbers Are Troubling

With a pandemic that's led to the loss of 200,000 lives, the loss of jobs, and overall economic instability that's affected most people except for the super wealthy that are heavily invested in the stock market, no one expected the Keeneland September yearling sale to be anything but down by gross and average versus last year. This was as predictable as saying that an egg dropped on concrete from six feet would break. So, what's the damage? Through the first 10 sessions that ended with Book 5 on Wednesday, 2,129...

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