After the Robert B. Lewis only a couple of weeks back, it
would have seemed like trainer Bob Baffert
was losing all of his best Kentucky
Derby prospects….oh how foolish we were to even entertain such doubtful
and Sky Kingdom
may have thrown in cluckers, but Baffert
chuckled as we all began to doubt his Kentucky Derby brigade.
On February 9th
, Baffert sent out the promising
son of Giant’s Causeway, Fed Biz
. While unprofessional and green down the
stretch, the colt left no room for anyone to doubt his raw and natural talent.
Two days later, a colt named for Baffert’s son, Bode, left jaws hanging as he
completely demolished the field in his one mile maiden event. The final time
and the individual splits, for such a young horse, were mind boggling. So, the
march began, with the likes of Bodemeister
and Fed Biz.
This weekend, Baffert sent out a seemingly overmatched
. The son of Lawyer Ron hadn’t won since September of 2011 and had turned
in three, consecutive, dismal efforts. By all accounts it looked like the colt
just needed a rest, and that going up against, grade one winner, Creative Cause
and American Act
, the colt that beat the ever so impressive Bodemeister, would
be too big a task.
All I can say is how ignorant of us to lose faith in the
training magic that only Baffert seems to possess. Drill relaxed, rating in
second, behind American Act, came with a rush on the outside as they came to
the stretch. He went eye ball to eye ball with American Act, and for the first
time since Del Mar, fans got to see the grit that won him the Del Mar Futurity.
Drill emerged victorious, by a hard fought nose, with Baffert looking as
pleased as could be in the stands. It was as if the trainer knew exactly the
type of performance Drill was going to deliver.
You would think that the Baffert run would slow down some,
but nope, Presidents Day would be the running, or shall I say running(s) of the
split Southwest Stakes
. In the first division, Castaway
, impressive maiden
winner dominated the field, giving Baffert the first half of the split race. In
the second division he had highly promising Secret Circle
. The colt had gone
his juvenile year unbeaten, but was a narrowly beaten second in his 2011 bow,
which also marked his first attempt at one mile. The Southwest would be his
second try at the distance, and boy did he deliver.
Known for his ability to run his opposition into the ground,
Secret Circle sat second, letting Scatman
take the early initiative. The pace
was a fast one, but it didn’t matter. As they continue around the turn, Scatman
and Secret Circle began to separate from the field. Into the stretch Secret
Circle was breathing down Scatman’s neck. It was a full on stretch duel, that
had everyone on the edge of their seats. As the wire neared Secret Circle found
another gear, prevailing by half a length, giving a Baffert a sweep of the Southwest
Baffert may have been seemingly down and out, but after the
past couple of weeks, one thing we all should have learned is to never discount
the white haired wonder. If one didn’t know it before, they should now, Baffert
is one of the best in the game, and he just proved why this weekend. Beware of
him and his army come Derby Day.