Baffert ‘justifies’ his legendary resume

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The 144th Kentucky Derby is in the books with no surprises as super trainer Bob Baffert wins another Kentucky Derby with yet another super horse, this one by the name of Justify.

Most trainers are lucky to find one great horse in their lifetime, Baffert has sent out three in the last four years – Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, world champion Arrogate and now Justify.

Does he have some sort of cloning machine? Baffert gets great yearlings and is a terrific trainer who knows how to bring them along.

Now it’s on to the Preakness where there will be a small group of runners looking to face him, most seeking second money.

To make things even worse, Baffert has won the Preakness Stakes six times.

Times change. It may have started in the NCAA college basketball tournament when No. 16 Maryland Baltimore County took down 1 seed Virginia and now the awesome “curse of Apollo” is gone. We will not hear of it hopefully ever again.

Let’s look at how most of the horses ran on the sloppy sealed track. As expected the very speedy Promises Fulfilled set some crazy super fast early fractions going the quarter in :22.1 and the half mile in a crazy :45.3 with Justify right on his flank.

Good Magic was sitting in a perfect spot and if you had him to win at almost 10/1 you had to like your chances with these fractions. Justify put Promises Fulfilled away with ease but then had to deal with a closing Good Magic, who made his run nearing the quarter pole and continued to chase. Justify found another gear kicking away with Good Magic running a gallant race to hold off the fast closing Audible who got a great ride from J.J. Castellano.

When the deluge came, a runner this bettor used in the trifectas and superfectas, My Boy Jack, got hammered at the windows getting bet down from his 30/1 morning line to just 6/1 at post time. My Boy Jack had one horrible trip.

He was starting to launch his run when looking to sneak through a small opening but had to be steadied to a halt, dropping back to dead last. Jack swung out about eight wide, somehow getting going again and was storming down the lane in the slop to finish a fast closing 5th.

Bolt d’Oro was sitting in a perfect spot but never fired when he had the chance. He reminds me of Sham who had loads of talent but after finishing second to the great Secretariat in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness lost his will and never won again.

Owner and trainer Mick Ruis needs to send the Bolt out to pasture for a little rest or off to the breeding shed.

Mendelssohn was just pummeled in the early going when bumped and forced in at the start and was banged around when he got in a traffic jam. After finishing last in a field of 20, he will head back over the pond for a needed rest.

Closer Vino Rosso finished 9th and his trainer Todd Pletcher said he had so much mud in his eyes he could hardly see. He may run in the Belmont.

Baffert’s other runner Solomini finished 10th, having been steadied in the early going and was far back behind a wall of horses. He moved down on the rail and ran on, finishing mid-pack. Baffert said he may run in the Belmont. My question is why?

The lightly raced Hofburg also had a ton of trouble moving up into the far turn but had to steady hard off heels, and again leaving the five-sixteenths. He then was switched out and made up some good ground in what was a nice try. Hofburg also may go in the Belmont.

Just for information purposes, the winner of this year’s Kentucky Derby picked up a cool $1,432,000 – nice payday Mike and Bob.

Next week we will cover the small Preakness field. One thing for sure, we know D. Wayne Lucas will be there.

Santa Anita

This Thursday we’re looking to pick up a few bucks to cover some baseball round robins. We will go to the all-important 5th race, the last leg of the early pick five and first leg of the late pick four. We will single No. 8 All of a Sudden who gets her second start at this level going down this hillside turf course. She ran a solid 3rd in her last race when breaking slow, her first start off the layoff. All systems are go for a winning run this time around.

Have a great week and always make sure you have some action as we do live large in Vegas. You could be walking around lucky and not even know it.

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