Photo: Hollywood Park
On the corresponding Saturday 10 years ago, Hall of Fame
trainer Bob Baffert recorded his only victory in the Belmont Stakes with Point
The white-haired conditioner will be after more modest goals
in the 3-year-old division this year here with two entrants in the Grade III
Affirmed Handicap, one of them a son of Point Given.
“Maybe it’s an omen,” said Baffert Thursday from his Santa
Anita base of Coil, who will make his stakes debut at 1 1/16 miles on Cushion
Track after two smart wins sprinting.
“He’s not as big as Point Given,” said Baffert in
comparision with the 3-year-old champion of 2001. “He’s a pretty horse. He’s
Coil will form a formidable 1-2 punch in the $100,000
Affirmed with Awesome Patriot, winner of the Alydar Stakes in his last start
and partly responsible for the purchase of Coil.
“Coil ran third to Awesome Patriot when he broke his maiden
here (October 9),” said Baffert, sufficiently impressed to purchase the Glen
Hill Farm colt privately for long-time clients Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and
Coil drew the rail under Martin Garcia and Awesome Patriot
landed the outside post in a field of six under Rafael Bejarano. “They’re both
speed horses; let’s see what happens,” said Baffert.
Baffert, a two-time Affirmed winner, last won the race in
2006 with Point Determined, another son of Point Given.
Trainer Julio Canani, who entered Akkadian in the race, also
has some history in his favor. Akkadian is a son of Tiznow, who won the
Affirmed in 2000 and sired Golden Itiz, winner of the race last year.
Golden Itiz, sidelined since August, makes his first start
back in a strong seven-furlong allowance race Friday night that also includes
the likes of Supreme Summit and Matto Mondo. The field also includes Tres
Borrachos, 2008 Swaps Stakes winner who has been transferred to the barn of
Marty Jones since making his last start in September.