Tumblr Codes

Tagged with bob baffert RSS

Breeders’ Cup Classic Profile #12: Paynter

Basics:

(Awesome Again x Tizso, by Cee’s Tizzy)

  • Trainer: Bob Baffert
  • Jockey: Martin Garcia
  • Owned by: Zayat Stables
  • Career Record: 10:4-4-0
  • Earnings: $1,101,924

Vital Stats:

  • 2013 Record: 4:1-2-0
  • 2013 accomplishments: G1-placed Awesome Again Stakes
  • Santa Anita record: 3:1-1-0
  • TrueNicks rating: A++ Variant 36.14
  • Dosage Index: 2.75
  • Highest Equibase Speed Figure of 2013: 119 (down from last year’s 123)
  • Lost last prep - Awesome Again Stakes by 4 1/4 lengths

Summary: One of the best stories to emerge from horse racing, Paynter made a dramatic recovery from his bout of severe, nearly-fatal sickness following his awesome Haskell (I) win last year to return to the winner’s circle this year. Since that point of return, things have been dodgy for the horse that Bob Baffert declared was even better than Bodemeister as he prepares for the biggest race of his life against other horses.

Prep Schedule: After a long recuperation period, Paynter returned a big favorite to Hollywood Park in a June allowance race, rolling from wire-to-wire to win the 7-furlong warmup by 4 1/2 lengths. Six weeks later, he went straight into the 1 1/16 mile San Diego Handicap (II) at Del Mar, where he fell victim to a pressured pace and tried to come on again late but fell short to Kettle Corn, who bested him by a short half length. He picked a bad day to ship to Saratoga for the Woodward (I), arriving on a simply ghastly rainy day on a sloppy-sealed course, where he lunged, hit the gate, stalked from 3-wide all around, and then faded in the mud, 4th by 7 1/4 lengths. Shipping back to Santa Anita, Paynter found his footing again, stalking the leaders before going 5-wide into the Awesome Again Stakes (I), but was outgamed by a better-tripped Mucho Macho Man, who defeated him by 4 1/4 lengths.

Physique: Another textbook Awesome Again boy, Paynter is long-bodied, sturdy, and with a reaching, efficient stride. His shoulder is nice and strong to match that huge heart of his.

Pedigree: Easily one of the best pedigrees in the field, Paynter is by 1998 winner Awesome Again, who himself is one of the best dirt route sires around and featuring five-star lineage himself. Paynter’s dam Tizso is a full sister to 2000 & 2001 Classic winner Tiznow— another dynamite classic distance sire— and a half sibling to the dam of Preakness winner Oxbow, who is a 3/4 brother to Paynter. Tizso also produced G3 winner Tiz West.

Running Style: Pacesetter or just behind the pace

Pros: Potential monster in the making and a past monster the more ground he was handed, Paynter has the potential to improve off that Awesome Again prep— which actually wasn’t a horrible race for him!— and with another furlong he could unveil his true potential. The pace may also setup favorably for him as a horse who comes from behind the speed.

Cons: He has yet to show quite the same electricity he had as a three-year-old and may even be somewhat ill-prepared for this specific race given his non-race in the Woodward two races back. Classic contenders usually display some pizazz leading in.

Final Word: It’s no question that the horse to beat this year is Paynter’s stablemate Game On Dude, and Paynter is currently about a light year away from being on even terms with Dude in terms of form and fitness. I won’t completely dismiss— I think he’s a very good horse— but probably not ready for this race right now. I think it would take a really badass workout to change my mind at this point.

Breeders’ Cup Classic Profile #3: Game On Dude

image

Basics:

(Awesome Again x Worldly Pleasure, by Devil His Due)

  • Trainer: Bob Baffert (Silver Charm, Lookin at Lucky, Point Given)
  • Jockey: Mike Smith
  • Owned by: Diamond Pride LLC, Lanni Family Trust, Mercedes Stable LLC and Schiappa, B.
  • Career Record: 27:15-5-1
  • Earnings: $5,602,158

Vital Stats:

  • 2013 Record: 5:5-0-0
  • 2013 accomplishments: Undefeated in 5 starts, winner of 3 G1 10-furlong races
  • Win and You’re In winner: Pacific Classic
  • Santa Anita record: 8:7-0-0
  • TrueNicks rating: D Variant 0.22
  • Dosage Index: 3.29
  • Highest Equibase Speed Figure of 2013: 122 (unchanged from last year)
  • Sire Awesome Again won this race
  • Won last prep [10-furlong Pacific Classic by 5 1/2 lengths]
  • Trainer has won 7 Breeders’ Cup races, closest to Classic win came in 2011 when Game On Dude was 2nd to Drosselmeyer
  • Aims to be the first gelding to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic
  • Aims to be the oldest horse (age 6) to win

Summary: Will the third time prove to be the charm for Game On Dude? In 2011 he was second. Last year he was a [poorly tripped] seventh. He has had a different jockey for each of his three runnings, and each time presented himself as a beast keen to perform. This year, Bob Baffert has changed a few things, like keeping the gelding home in California and without a September prep race in hopes of having him fresh off the layoff. It’s worked before, but can the Dude finally pass the test?

Prep Schedule: Undefeated this season, Dude kept his head up after the Classic, winning the 2012 Native Diver (III) by 1 1/2 lengths going wire-to-wire on Hollywood’s polytrack. He kicked the year off right in the 9-furlong San Antonio (II), romping by 5 1/2 lengths over 3 rivals. A month later, he turned heads in the Santa Anita Handicap (I), winning the 10-furlong classic by nearly 8 lengths over a good field. Not slowing down, he shipped cross-country for the Charles Town Classic (II) 6 weeks later, going wire-to-wire in a hard-fought victory with questionable glue-on shoes, defeating rival Clubhouse Ride by a half length. Taking a break, he returned to Santa Anita a few months later as a fresh horse, running again from wire-to-wire to beat Kettle Corn in the 10-furlong Hollywood Gold Cup (I) by a length. Second off the layoff, he was at his best yet in the Pacific Classic (I), wowing the crowd with a dominant 8 1/2 length over a strong field.

image

Physique: While not the most visually impressive horse standing still, Dude’s biggest asset is his efficiency; he coasts over the ground while others are trying their best to keep within touching distance. His consistently good stride is his biggest plus.

Pedigree: Sire Awesome Again won the Breeders’ Cup Classic in 1998 in one of the strongest fields (in my opinion) in memory, then went on to sire one of the most impressive winners of the race in Ghostzapper as well as many other accomplished distance-goers including Paynter, Awesome Gem, and Oxbow.

Running Style: Likely pacesetter, usually goes wire-to-wire in victory

Pros: Speed succeeds, and Game On Dude has it in volumes and is arguably the best horse on the home turf of Santa Anita, and he is having his best year ever to date. Baffert is brushing him up for a big effort here, and he picks up the winningest Breeders’ Cup rider Mike Smith.

Cons: The Classic this year looks full of speed already with Fort Larned, Game On Dude, possibly Graydar, and others looking for that lead or just off of it. It has also been disputed that Dude hasn’t faced much apart from the same old foes he’s already bested all year, leaving him vulnerable to more competitive invaders from the east.

Final Word: Due to be the favorite once again this year, Game On Dude is in his element as he was the past two runnings and is keen to get it right this year as he contends for a possible Horse of the Year title. While he goes wire-to-wire and has speed to burn, Mike Smith could likely get this horse to relax on the lead early once again and try to set up coasting fractions— who in the past has wanted to mess with the Dude on the lead anyway— before trying to run away with it. Try and catch him!

I never rooted so hard for a horse to lose. In the 144th Belmont, Union Rags came hard and late to wear down the courageous lead held by Paynter, who missed the win by a head much to my joy and jubilation. It wasn’t too long after that when the world was rooting him on to win the battle for his life, and that time, he prevailed. Paynter is obviously a special horse and he is my current interest to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic in the fall should he climb back to his old form. Today he races again for the first time since wiring the Haskell (I), at Hollywood Park at 4:13 PST going 7 furlongs, also his first race over all-weather.

I never rooted so hard for a horse to lose. In the 144th Belmont, Union Rags came hard and late to wear down the courageous lead held by Paynter, who missed the win by a head much to my joy and jubilation. It wasn’t too long after that when the world was rooting him on to win the battle for his life, and that time, he prevailed. Paynter is obviously a special horse and he is my current interest to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic in the fall should he climb back to his old form. Today he races again for the first time since wiring the Haskell (I), at Hollywood Park at 4:13 PST going 7 furlongs, also his first race over all-weather.

Oaks Octet #6: Midnight Lucky

image

(Midnight Lute x Citiview, by Citidancer)

  • Trainer: Bob Baffert (Plum Pretty, Coil, Silverbulletday)
  • Jockey: Rafael Bejarano (6th last year on Hard Not To Like)
  • Owned by: Watson, Karl; Pegram, Michael E.; and Weitman, Paul
  • Record: 2:2-0-0
  • Earnings: $153,600
  • Best speed figures: 94 Beyer, 106 Equibase

Background: The silver bullet from the west, Midnight Lucky fills the shoes her colt stablemates couldn’t shipping out race-ready to Churchill Downs. The lightest-raced of the field, “Lucky” has some historic hurdles to clear as a filly who never raced at 2 and comes into the fray with just 2 starts to her credit. Can this speedball improve enough to catch some of the other girls?

Prep Schedule: Unraced at 2, Midnight Lucky fired a warning shot at Santa Anita in February while smashing her 6 1/2 furlong maiden by 7 1/4 lengths in a public workout. Regrouping a month later in New Mexico, Lucky followed the hoofprints of Baffert’s last Oaks winner Plum Pretty in scoring impressively in the Sunland Oaks (II) while stretching out another 2 furlongs with ease: her win margin was an easy 8.

Pedigree: Part of two-time Breeders’ Cup Sprint (I) winner Midnight Lute’s impressive first crop, Midnight Lucky draws speed and routing capability from her sire through the exceptional three-year-old routers Real Quiet and Deputy Minister, his damsire. Lucky’s dam is Citiview, a Maryland-bred daughter of Citidancer and a full sister to G1 winner Hookedonthefeelin, who produced multi-G1 winner Pussycall Doll, very closely related to Lucky being by Real Quiet. 

Estimated TrueNicks Rating: A++ Variant: 46.54

Running Style: On the pace

Pros: Full of ability makes Lucky a very hot pick fresh off of 2 winning starts. She has the ability to make a big peak effort here on her third start with connections that are very familiar with the winners’ circle.

Cons: She takes a big class jump here and will be tested in a race that offers plenty of speed already. Burnout?

Final Word: If you asked me about her before the analysis, Midnight Lucky was playing a few others to be my top pick of the Oaks. But I have reconsidered slightly after soaking in the details. By family alone, while she is very impressive, the best her cross has had to offer is huge success but at shorter distances. Asking her to leap to a 9-furlong G1 win is asking too much of her family history as well as her experience in a race that will destroy her via Beholder duel. She’s going to be a good horse, but not here.

I’m just super duper creative today and wanted to DOODLE my Arkansas Derby (I) pick today, seeing as I picked Bodemeister last year and Archarcharch the year before. This colty is listening to some off-screen instructions on how to make an Oxbutt out of Oxbow. (Fantastic original art by me)

I’m just super duper creative today and wanted to DOODLE my Arkansas Derby (I) pick today, seeing as I picked Bodemeister last year and Archarcharch the year before. This colty is listening to some off-screen instructions on how to make an Oxbutt out of Oxbow. (Fantastic original art by me)

That awkward moment when Goldencents becomes a G1 winner. (Photo by HRTV)

That awkward moment when Goldencents becomes a G1 winner. (Photo by HRTV)

Paynter

Paynter

Super Ninety Nine: a Baffert-trained beauty who stormed to a 12-length win in yesterday’s Southwest Stakes (II). Not sure precisely why I don’t like him more… I do love my chestnut, chromey ponies and I do love the Pulpit clan… but maybe it’s because I’m hard set on finding a special Derby horse that doesn’t have a super mega top-tier trainer like Baffert or Pletcher. Normandy Invasion, are you there?
I’d like to see 99 take on a stronger field next out and on a fast, dry main. I naturally must also balk that he’s a speed craver of a runner and reminds me a lot of Secret Circle who I didn’t like on last year’s trail. I argue that he was in optimal position up front in the slop and in fresh form while others struggled with it— second and third place went to longshots and most of the field faltered.
Oh well… Always in a Tiz had a shoddy trip but I was wise on Fear the Kitten which makes me happy. I wouldn’t have touched 99 at even money in the slop.

Super Ninety Nine: a Baffert-trained beauty who stormed to a 12-length win in yesterday’s Southwest Stakes (II). Not sure precisely why I don’t like him more… I do love my chestnut, chromey ponies and I do love the Pulpit clan… but maybe it’s because I’m hard set on finding a special Derby horse that doesn’t have a super mega top-tier trainer like Baffert or Pletcher. Normandy Invasion, are you there?

I’d like to see 99 take on a stronger field next out and on a fast, dry main. I naturally must also balk that he’s a speed craver of a runner and reminds me a lot of Secret Circle who I didn’t like on last year’s trail. I argue that he was in optimal position up front in the slop and in fresh form while others struggled with it— second and third place went to longshots and most of the field faltered.

Oh well… Always in a Tiz had a shoddy trip but I was wise on Fear the Kitten which makes me happy. I wouldn’t have touched 99 at even money in the slop.

It’s Baffert vs. O’Neill in Robert B. Lewis Stakes

image

***DERBY HANDICAP CONTEST Week 2 of 10! Please submit your top 3 picks IN ORDER OF FINISH through this submission form (easiest and quickest method), via Tumblr message, or email. You have until 1 hour before the scheduled post time noted below to submit or edit your picks. See the Contest Tab for details.

When I first loaded up the entry list for this race, I assumed my iPod’s wifi connection was pooping out and didn’t load everything. *Refresh*. Oh. Well this kind of sucks… WHY DO WE ONLY HAVE FOUR HORSES RUNNING? Further evidence that the Cali circuit sucks for Derby hopefuls right about now. Two horses storm in from Baffert’s barn against last year’s winning trainer Doug O’Neill, who’s hoping to score this race again with He’s Had Enough.

Weather looks picture-perfect at Santa Anita, so be ready for a fast track.

$200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (II) - 3-Year-Olds. 1 1/16 miles on dirt at Santa Anita. Post Time: Saturday, February 2 at 2:03pm PST.

[Post Position, Horse - Jockey, Impost, Trainer - Summary, Opinion in italics]

1) Little Jerry - Tyler Baze, 118 lbs, Richard Baltas - The Candy Ride [ARG] colt has not made an appearance since his 8th in the CashCall (I), where he was off slow and made no late rally which was expected of him. This will be his first dirt start with no recorded works over it. I liked Little Jerry back in the CashCall, which can probably be excused. He defeated a good colt in Curly Top in his maiden where he closed very fast over this stretch of ground and gets Baze back for this race. Should he likely decide to close in, he may take advantage of the pace if it’s fast.

2) Flashback - Julien Leparoux, 118 lbs, Bob Baffert - The Tapit star and full brother to G1 winner Zazu is apt to be favored despite just having run one winning race and will be making his first dirt start and his first route here. He stretches out a furlong and a half here after blitzing some bullets in his works on the Santa Anita dirt. Another good stalking trip and he could prevail despite his inexperience.

3) Den’s Legacy - Garrett Gomez, 120 lbs, Bob Baffert - The lone graded stakes winner of the field is this Medaglia d’Oro colt, who looks like he can do just about anything that is asked of him. He is the most experienced of the bunch, has some nice bullet moves, and totes Gomez  yet will very likely be overlooked again.

4) He’s Had Enough - Mario Gutierrez, 118 lbs, Doug O’Neill - The Tapit colt made headlines when he gave undefeated Shanghai Bobby a big scare in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, also on this track at this distance. He had a poor race last out when 5th in the CashCall (I), and after a string of longer works, looks to make his second dirt start here for points. I like O’Neill’s conditioning style and the clear break opportunity, but I’m not sure if a colt who is hit-and-miss and called lazy is going to want to compete.

Top Picks in Order:

1) Flashback

2) Den’s Legacy

3) Little Jerry

As no stranger to the equine world, I think Mr. Reddam should rethink how he names his horses… I truly believe from personal experiences that they love to live up to their name! On a serious note, this race is going to be determined by pace, and seeing what we’ve got, I don’t see anyone going much faster than :24 flat with an all-out scramble on the turn. I think Flashback has the right stuff to keep moving forward, and I’ll make it a Baffert double with Den’s Legacy coming in right behind him.

No Value Pick

Baffert Sends Four in San Fernando

image

While I plan to busy myself on Sunday cheering for Purple Egg in the Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, I could not shift away from handicapping Santa Anita’s card on Saturday, with the headliner being the G2 San Fernando Stakes. There’s plenty of interesting entries—including 2 of my Saratoga sightings!— and Bob Baffert as usual will be trying to grab it with 4 different horses INCLUDING MY ORIGINAL DERBY FAVORITE FROM LAST YEAR SKY KINGDOM! OH MY GOD I AM SO EXCITED!!! Yeah, I was seriously crushed when he was sidelined, if you couldn’t tell… Baffert aims to become the leader of San Fernando wins, as he is currently tied with Laz Barrera with 4 wins each.

Weather looks California clear for Saturday.

$150,000 San Fernando Stakes (II) - 4-year-olds. 1 1/16 miles on dirt at Santa Anita. Post Time: Saturday, January 12 at 3:36pm PST.

[Post Position, Horse - Jockey, Impost, Trainer - Summary, Opinion in italics]

1) Battle Force - Garrett Gomez, 118 lbs, John Shirreffs - Trading grass for dirt, the Giant’s Causeway colt has been knocking on the winning door for some time, last out being 2nd in the mile-long Sir Beaufort (II), just missing winner Silentio by a half length while closing ground. This will be the colt’s first dirt start after running on poly and grass, though he has never been worse than 3rd. While I trust Shirreffs’ judgement and Gomez’s hands, this one looks a bit tough to use in such a deep field and racing on dirt for the first time. However, he has shown great improvement on the grass and is getting close to a win.

2) Fly Lexis Fly - Rafael Bejarano, 118 lbs, Neil Drysdale - Lightly-raced last year without much avail, the Badge of Silver ridgeling has been struggling with poor starts, too-late runs, and just generally goofing when he should be winning. His last race was a stakes-quality allowance at Hollywood where he ran 3rd behind improving graded winners Jaycito and Tres Borrachos. The blinkers go back on for this test. A horse with upside, I don’t think this is the right place for him. He looks like he could swallow more ground than this and he doesn’t look as good as he did last year.

3) Regulus - Aaron Gryder, 118 lbs, Eoin Harty - The Distorted Humor gelding wears the Darley colors to post after winning twice in 6 starts last year, one of them being an allowance-optional claimer at Santa Anita at the same distance. Not an amazing entry, Regulus is making his stakes debut here. Likely to try to be out on or near the pace to take advantage of that speed bias, but will face a steep class test.

4) Mile High Magic - Martin Garcia, 118 lbs, Bob Baffert - Royal bloodlines pack this improving gelding’s pedigree as a grandson of the famous Silverbulletday, and being that this Roman Ruler son is owned by Mike Pegram at Baffert’s barn, we are right to expect big things. Stretching him out a bit, he was 5th last out here at 7 furlongs in the Damascus Stakes on Breeders’ Cup Saturday as the favorite. The gelding goes blinkers-off for the first time here. While he’s making his graded debut here, he’s outrun some good sprinters like Mensa Heat and Sinai before and appears to like the fast Santa Anita dirt. He’s a beatable favorite though who will need to resist falling into a duel early on.

5) Guilt Trip - Joe Talamo, 118 lbs, Bob Baffert - A bit too slow for the speed in the Malibu (I) last out where he ran 5th, the Pulpit colt drops down a bit and stretches out where he should be more comfortable. While he won’t get a picnic in beating others, he does have some excellent workouts with a :59 bullet last week. He should also like the extra ground more and could close in a bit better in this spot.

6) Handsome Mike - Mario Gutierrez, 123 lbs, Doug O’Neill - The Pennsylvania Derby (II) winner and son of Scat Daddy is back to dirt after flailing home 10th in the Hollywood Derby (I) last out. O’Neill puts blinkers on this G2 winner. Workouts are a bit curious coming from the gate, so I’m wondering whether or not Mike has it in him to catch these faster horses. He may look to try to upset them as they tire in the stretch, but I’m doubtful that will happen at the super-slick Santa Anita main.

7) Sky Kingdom - Edwin Maldonado, 118 lbs, Bob Baffert - A winner twice last year before being 5th in the jumbled Robert B. Lewis (II) here, the son of Empire Maker is finally back after that long 11-month layoff. He looks good in his workouts, but it may be too much of a first test back.

8) Fed Biz - Mike Smith, 118 lbs, Bob Baffert - The speedy Giant’s Causeway colt got off to a bad start in the Malibu (I) last out where he couldn’t muster much better than 6th, and stretches out again here. Likely to take advantage of the speed bias, this colt has the right speed to get the win so long as he can stay out of trouble and doesn’t get caught in a burning pace up front. He looks like a miler, so can he last a bit longer than that?

9) Tribal Jewel - Julien Leparoux, 118 lbs, Jerry Hollendorfer - The California-bred gelding by Tribal Rule, this will be the speedy Hollendorfer trainee’s stakes debut after winning 3 and showing 3 times in 7 starts last year. He was a rallying winner last out in a Santa Anita mile allowance. He has the speed to get this done, but will face a big class test. Leparoux isn’t a top Cali rider, but may be patient enough to eke out a good effort from this rallier.

10) Tritap - Corey Nakatani, 118 lbs, Steve Asmussen - Tapit baby! A winner twice last year and 2nd three times in 7 total starts, Tritap snuffed out the good Suns Out Guns Out last out in a Churchill allowance at this distance in November. He will need to improve further, and I question how well he’s doing in his workouts.

Top Picks in Order

1) Tribal Jewel

2) Mile High Magic

3) Battle Force

While this field is pretty interesting, speedy, and open to little differences in strategy, there’s a lot of vulnerabilities in many performers’ backgrounds, particularly the “class” of the field like Fed Biz who cannot keep himself out of trouble. Tribal Jewel has done little wrong training up to this event, and can take it with a patient ride if and when the pace crashes. Mile High Magic has a lot of upside but will be hammered at the windows no doubt, but looks fresher than most of his stablemates and is Baffert’s best bet to win. Battle Force is an excellent horse, and I don’t think Shirreffs would put him on dirt unless he thought he had dirt potential… plus Gomez, you know, is an excellent rider choice.

Value Pick: Battle Force

The best Thoroughbred horse racing blog on Tumblr! Updated daily with handicapping analysis, photos, editorials, and things gathered 'round the web.

Tracks visited: Calder, Saratoga, Belmont, Suffolk, Aqueduct.


Popular Tags:

Editorials

Handicapping Info

Photos

News

Videos

Answered Asks


Follow Us!