Baffert has done it again. Power Broker, the 2-yr-old son of Pulpit and Shop
Again romped home en route to a runaway victory of 6 ½ lengths in the $250,000
G1 FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita. The win extends Baffert’s record to six
wins in this Stakes race and automatically qualifies Power Broker for a spot in
the upcoming 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
no other judgment, Power Broker made it look easy without a challenger down the
stretch. His sweeping move around the turn was commanding and he left the field
racing for 2nd. So, how dominant was this win and where does it now rank
him in regards to the list of contenders that will be vying for the Juvenile just
four weeks from now. By all accounts, he now has my vote as the new leader on
the West Coast. This is a discussion that could be up for debate so let me just
roll out my reasons and note why this win impressed me as much as it did.
main takeaways that make Power Broker my #1 ranked west coast Juvenile
contender is: 1. His handle on dirt – 2. The two turn experience – 3. Trained
by Bob Baffert.
Baffert has enjoyed much success over the years at many different tracks and of
course many different racing surfaces. But of all of his victories and
accomplishments the dirt is where he has scored the most.
always handicapping speculation at this time of year at Santa Anita. No matter the race, the form still presents the same question in almost every race. Which horse can make the switch
from the Del Mar synthetics to the Santa Anita dirt?
Broker began his career at Del Mar where he went 0 for 3. Baffert’s decision to
keep his horses on the ground and on the Southern California racing circuit paid
off for Power Broker. His dirt debut answered all of the questions convincingly
and he demonstrated that dirt racing was the probably plan the entire time. I
think it’s obvious that Baffert knew this horse would thrive on the dirt but
not everyone is always convinced until they see it. On Saturday we did and I think
the proof was there.
Power Broker didn’t win the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf, his 2nd place
finish to Dry Summer was a very solid shift in the right direction. That race
was run at a distance of 1 Mile and proved to be a very significant prep. It
was apparent that he raced comfortably this past weekend at 1 1/16 and it now has him
ready to come back at that distance in the Juvenile.
even in the slightest, the Baffert bias that has to be recognized as an
advantage. He’s the most successful trainer out west and he knows Santa Anita
better than most. He operates from there, he stables there and most of all he
wins there. So, when you combine these with the Breeders’ Cup being hosted
there, it’s hard not to recognize the advantage
we go into the FrontRunner competition that may be back for the Juvenile, let’s
stay with Baffert. There is an additional 2-yr-old in his barn that equals
Power Broker’s potential or possibly exceeds it. That of course is Rolling Fog,
the undefeated colt who also scored an automatic Breeders’ Cup Juvenile qualifier
in the G1 Del Mar Futurity. However, he will not be back in time for the
Juvenile. Diagnosed with Bucked Shins, Baffert and Zayat Stables elected to
rest him from racing for at least 60 days which puts him on the sidelines until
after the Juvenile. The reason I highlight this other potential star is because
I’m not sure if I can rank Power Broker ahead of Rolling Fog. But since we know
who’s entering the Juvenile and who’s not, Power Broker gets the nod.
the injury of Rolling Fog was announced, an exciting rematch in the FrontRunner
was highly anticipated. After winning the G2 Best Pal Stakes in the first race
of his career, Know More returned for the Del Mar Futurity. Although he was
game, Rolling Fog simply outperformed. Know More made it through and returned
to his barn in great condition which set him up to keep it going in the
the second straight race, however, Know More couldn’t make the needed moves
through the final turn before hanging on for 2nd. Going into this
race Know More was getting the most exposure out west. Nearly all of it was well
earned but his performance on Saturday in the FrontRunner is what leads me to ranking
him behind Power Broker.
number one thing I saw in this horse in his first two races that I didn’t see over the weekend was a style or racing that I prefer. Both races prior were only through one turn but Jockey Garrett Gomez was still able to settle him in
off the pace in close stalking position. What this allowed them to do was get a
good feel for the pace out front and work beautifully from there. Even though Rolling
Fog got away from him, Know More looked like he had ample fuel left in the tank
and could have made a serious run if the distance was at least 1 Mile.
Saturday he ran completely different. In both of his previous races Know More
got out of the gate clean but raced no better than 5th through the
opening quarter. In the FrontRunner Stakes he broke sharply to the front before
Carving got by him along the rail through the opening turn. But he didn’t give
way easily and 2nd place is where Gomez kept him for the remainder
of the race. They weren’t suicide fractions out front – 23.19; 47.53; 1:12.45;
1:37.89 – but they were still too quick for Know More to hold pace with Power
Broker through the stretch.
can never stay it enough; 2-yr-olds are very vulnerable for unpredictable
results. Know More didn’t race his best but it doesn’t discredit his chances
for getting back on track in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Remember, he still
hasn’t raced worse than 2nd in three lifetime graded stakes races.
That proves a lot but his transfer to the dirt at Santa Anita didn’t go as
planned and Power Broker was lights out. It's not a knock against Know More's connections but I can only work from what I’ve
seen recently. By that, Power Broker is the new leader of the pack on the
congrats to Rafael Bejarano who scored his first ever FrontRunner Stakes (or
Norfolk Stakes) win. He came back from what appeared to be a serious fall the
day before without any noticeable signs of injury. If he didn’t make it clear
that he was fine I think by the end of the day and four wins later, Bejarano
proved his durability. Great Ride! Watch out for Bejarano and Baffert who
teamed up for three of those wins, all three graded stakes.