He may have been second best throughout the Triple Crown,
but something tells me Bob Baffert will not be second best at all this summer.
He has two top three year olds in Paynter and Bodemeister, both of whom
finished 2nd in Triple Crown races. Bode gave I’ll Have Another all he wanted in
each the Derby and Preakness while Paynter finally lived up to expectations
when he made the talented Union Rags work to show his dominance in the Belmont
Stakes. In the older division he has the top older male in Game on Dude, who
also happens to love Santa Anita, the very track the Breeders Cup will be held
at this year.
The only problem with having so many aces is figuring out
where on earth to run each of them. Both Paynter and Bodemeister are owned by
the same owner and ridden by the same jockey, which presents a bit of a
problem. Bode is already pointed towards the Haskell, a good move, so what does
that mean for Paynter? Does he stay in California for the Swaps or run in the
Jim Dandy on the same weekend as the Haskell? After the Haskell then what does
Baffert do? If both horses win and win well he has two very legit shots at the
Travers, knowing both horses are capable of getting 10 furlongs. However, Mike Smith
can’t ride both horses. Does he try to find another place for one of them? Or does
he make Smith have to choose by entering them both in the Travers?
Personally, I see no reason to make Smith or Zayat choose.
You have two top notch three year olds, both plenty capable of winning against
their own age group, and both certainly have the talent to step up in the older
division. Especially since that division would seem suspect. If both seem to be
winning like gangbusters in their next start why not enter Bode in the Travers.
Afterall, I can only imagine how much fans would be salivating when they here
of potential race involving a Bode vs Union Rags match up. For Paynter, let him
step up and take on older in the Woodward the following week. This is a suspect
group of older, and while as of now Wise Dan and Successful Dan look to be at
the forefront of the east coast division, they are not proven outside of
Churchill Downs. To Honor and Serve and Mucho Macho Man would need to step up
off their last races to make a good race out of it, should the choose that as a
So, for Bode we have the Haskell and Travers and for Paynter
the Swaps/Jim Dandy and the Woodward. That takes care of the summer, but then
what about the Fall? This would seem easier than the Summer, but that’s just
me. Keep one in New York for the Gold Cup and send the other to the
Pennsylvania Derby while keeping Game on Dude at his favorite track, Santa
Anita for the Goodwood. However, this time I would pull a switcheroo and enter
Bodemeister in the Gold Cup against older and Paynter in the Pennsylvania
So, what do you think, gang …. Baffert? Does this sound like a plan?