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Baffert Has Affirmed Surrounded

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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 Given.

 

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 fast.”

 

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 Paul Weitman.                  

 

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.

 

 

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