Baffert's Breeders' Cup Stars
Trainer Bob Baffert has confirmed Authentic, Improbable, and Maximum Security will be racing in the US$6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.
The only trainer with $30 million in Breeders’ Cup earnings, Baffert also pre-entered futures favorites Gamine in the Filly & Mare Sprint and Princess Noor in the Juvenile Fillies.
Surprisingly, he also put Classier in for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile only two days after a debut win at Santa Anita.
Monday’s pre-entry deadline at noon ET came only four days after a New York Times report linked Baffert and Gamine to another positive drug test, this time for a trace of legal medication that was supposed to have been out of her system before she finished third in the Kentucky Oaks.
That will be in the hands of Irad Ortiz Jr., who guided him to victory two starts ago in the Whitney Gr.1 at Saratoga. Improbable’s third consecutive win came last month in the Awesome Again Gr.1 at Santa Anita, where Drayden Van Dyke had the ride.
Both carrying Classic odds of at least 5-1, Kentucky Derby winner Authentic and four-time Gr.1 winner Maximum Security come in off second-place finishes as favorites in their last starts. Authentic was outdueled by Swiss Skydiver this month in the Preakness. Maximum Security lost to Improbable in the Awesome Again.
Before the Oaks, Gamine was a two-time Grade 1 winner during the summer, blowing away the Acorn field by 18 3/4 lengths on the Belmont Stakes undercard before running away by seven in the Test at Saratoga.
Bought by Amr Zedan last spring for $1.35 million and named for his wife, Princess Noor takes a 3-for-3 record on her first trip to race outside California. That is where she has left her closest rivals a combined 17 3/4 lengths behind. Jockey Víctor Espinoza will get the ride again at Keeneland.
Baffert is keenly aware that the focus is not so much on his horses now as it is on the drug positive that came out of the Kentucky Oaks. Despite calling the Times report Thursday “inaccurate,” his lawyer Craig Robertson admitted that Gamine was administered a legal drug that was expected by Kentucky veterinarians to be out of her system four days before the Oaks. But it was not.
Tests on the second half of the split sample still have to be reported before Kentucky stewards decide whether to invalidate Gamine’s Oaks result and call for a giveback of her $120,000 third-place money.
Baffert went on to say that he and the whole racing industry are continuing to learn just sensitive medication rules have become, what with trace amounts leading to red flags.
In an overarching view, Baffert said he considers himself to be extra careful with the welfare of his horses, especially if they show the slightest sign that they are not race-worthy.