What's in a Name? Mr. Baffert, Doppelganger, and More

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Doppelganger | Benoit

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Mr. Baffert, c, 2, Bodemeister–Commandaria, by Smart Strike. Monterrico, 11-14, Maiden, 1000m. B-Sanford Robertson (KY).

The one and only Mr. Bob Baffert has had quite a share of intriguingly named winners in the last few weeks. Incidentally, Baffert is himself the namesake of a brilliant Peruvian (and U.S.-bred) colt by his old alumnus Bodemeister–the 2-year-old being a fast horse who won by almost five lengths at five furlongs on his racetrack debut (from another hemisphere in more ways than one?).

8th-Los Alamitos, $54,312, Msw, 12-11, 2yo, 6f, 1:09.21, ft, 3 1/2 lengths. Doppelganger (c, 2, Into Mischief–Twice the Lady {SW & MGSP, $312,204}, by Quiet American) O-Golconda Stable, Madaket Stables LLC, SF Racing LLC, Siena Farm LLC, Starlight Racing, Waves Edge Capital LLC, Catherine Donovan, Robert E. Masterson, & Jay A. Schoenfarber; B-WinStar Farm LLC (KY); T-Bob Baffert.

Anyway, Baffert-trained Los Alamitos winner Doppelganger, being out of dam Twice the Lady and by the horse who has endeared us to mysterious conduct, has a really ingenious name. A doppelganger (in German literally a “double-walker”) is a biologically unrelated look-alike, or a double, of a living person.

4th-Santa Anita, $65,660, Msw, 12-31, 2yo, 6 1/2f, 1:17.81, gd, 1 length. McLaren Vale (c, 2, Gun Runner–Magical Weekend, by Any Given Saturday) The winner is his dam's last American-born foal, as she was exported to Australia. O-Golconda Stable, Madaket Stables LLC, SF Racing LLC, Siena Farm LLC, Starlight Racing, Stonestreet Stables, LLC, Waves Edge Capital LLC, Catherine Donovan, Robert E. Masterson, & Jay A. Schoenfarber; B-Austramore Pty.Ltd (KY); T-Bob Baffert

McLaren Vale is another brilliant and young winner handled by the white-haired trainer from Nogales, Az. The name may be connected to the renowned Australian wine region south of Adelaide–a “Bacchic jukebox” of excellence for precious, famous and worldly vintages: Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Zinfandel, and so on. You name it, they produce it.

LA CANADA S.-GIII, $200,000, Santa Anita, 1-1, 4yo/up, f/m, 1 1/16m, 1:44.31, ft. As Time Goes By (m, 5, American Pharoah–Take Charge Lady {Broodmare of the Year, MGISW, $2,480,377}, by Dehere) O-Michael B. Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier, & Derrick Smith; B-Orpendale & Chelston (KY); T-Bob Baffert; J-Flavien Prat

You must remember this: As Time Goes By is a classy name for a lovely mare, as well as the classiest and most philosophical of love songs. No wonder Ingrid Bergman (Ilsa) and Humphrey Bogart (Rick) appeared to be fixated on it in “Casablanca” (1942), probably one of the best movies ever made. The lyrics are pure gold, including the line, “The fundamental things apply”, which rhymes efficiently with the following verse, the very title of the song. This wonderful female recently victorious at Santa Anita reiterates a fundamental thing applied to horse racing: that Bob Baffert has a permanent stable of well-bred prodigies.

9th-Aqueduct, $80,000, Msw, 12-2, 2yo, 1 1/8m, 1:56.14, ft, neck. Courvoisier (c, 2, Tapit–Take Charge Brandi {Ch. 2-year-old Filly, MGISW, $1,692,126}, by Giant's Causeway) O-Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings, Inc. (J. G. Sikura) & James D. Spry; B-Elevage II, LLC & Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings, Inc. (KY); T-Kelly J. Breen.

While I suspect that there is some name wordplay with brilliant colt Courvoisier being out of the great mare Take Charge Brandi, I wonder what is the actual state of affairs between cognac (as Courvoisier definitely is) and brandy–aren't they both distilled fruit? I will stop at “cognac is the best brandy money can buy” and respect the all-out endorsement of Courvoisier by two famous members of the history-shaking Bonaparte family. Let's hope this young colt is also destined for a Napoleonic career.

4th-Santa Anita, $71,500, (S), (NW1$X)/Opt. Clm ($20,000), 1-2, 4yo/up, f/m, 6fT, 1:09.39, fm, 2 lengths. That's Amare (m, 5, Unusual Heat–Amare, by Flatter) Lifetime Record: 4-2-2-0, $112,580. O-Marsha Naify, Ali & Francie Nilforushan; B-Ali Nilforushan (CA); T-Philip D'Amato.

10th-Santa Anita, $72,000, (S), (NW1$X)/Opt. Clm ($20,000), 1-1, 4yo/up, 6fT, 1:09.49, gd, nose. Riding With Dino (g, 5, Vronsky–Belloma, by Yankee Gentleman) Lifetime Record: 10-3-4-2, $153,908. O-Paradise Farms Corp., Todd Cady, Roger Featherston & Jeffrey Lambert; B-G Krikorian (CA); T-Robert Hess, Jr. *$7,000 Ylg '18 BARJAN.

Finally, an old Italian crooner-in-the-sky may have had a little smile to himself with two winners at Santa Anita in the new year: That's Amare is very similar wording to the song “That's Amore” (1953), made famous by Dean Martin, who was born Dino Paul Crocetti–yes, Dino, as in Riding With Dino . Everybody loves a winner, sometimes.

An Italian native, Andrea Branchini now lives in Lexington, Ky., where he works in the equine transport industry.

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