Sunday, March 3, 2019

The Baffert Boys

It's Derby time, and the race for the red roses is on, starting with the Fountain of Youth Stakes yesterday in Florida where the favorite came in fourth.  The top three horses for the Derby are all on the West Coast and all in one barn - the Bob Baffert Barn to be exact - and that shouldn't be a shock to anyone.  If you recall, this time last year, the unknown Justify had run only one race so a lot can happen in the months leading to the first Saturday in May.

If you want to start thinking Derby Winner, think Baffert.  This year, he has three top colts, two are unbeaten and one just won his first race of 2019 after a lay-off and a "procedure" that apparently put him back in the hunt.

Who are these Baffert Boys?

1) Roadster
Love the name.  Baffert was bragging about this gray colt last fall.  He won his maiden in 2018 but finished a disappointing third in the Del Mar Futurity last fall (G1) but came out of the race with some kind of breathing issue.  He had a minor surgery to correct the problem and looks like he's back to his old self. While he hasn't run the Derby distance yet or anything close to it, the gray son of Quality Road has put himself in possible Derby contention.  And he's got Big Money Mike Smith in the irons.  There's a lot to like about this one.

(Roadster - Blood Horse Photo)

2) Game Winner
The name is appropriate for this unbeaten colt, named top two-year-old for 2018.  Undefeated.  Has not raced yet in 2019.  He's a multiple G1 stakes winner already.  But hoping he hasn't peaked or hoping he can live up the hype he's created for himself.

(Wikipedia Photo)

3) Improbable
This one has a striking resemblance to last year's TC winner, Jusify and some horsemen have compared him to American Pharoah for his workmanship demeanor.  This one is the real deal in my mind.  Only time will tell.  He's also undefeated and I suspect Baffert won't let him run against Game Winner before the Derby.  We'll see.  Will it be another one-two finish for Baffert in the Derby this year (like it was in 2015 with Pharoah and Dortmund)?

(Blood Horse photo)

There are many good ones this year, the field will be narrowed down in the coming two months as the road to the Derby is well-traveled. Stay tuned.

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