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  • Hard Aces by a whisker over Hoppertunity in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita.Posted 4 days ago

Baffert Runners Invading Oaklawn Again

Trainer Bob Baffert, who has already won three stakes races this meet, is going to  attempt to win three more by taking two shots at Wednesday’s Fantasy Stakes with Jemima’s Pearl and Mamma Kimbo, one shot at Friday’s Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) with Plum Pretty and two shots in Saturday’s Arkansas Derby with Bodemeister and Secret Circle. Team Baffert is set to arrive Tuesday on a Tex Sutton flight from Southern California.

 

Secret Circle, winner of the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint, entered the year not on anyone’s top 20 Kentucky Derby list, but should he add to his victories in Oaklawn’s $250,000 Southwest (G3) and $500,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) by winning the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1), he could arrive in Louisville as one of the favorites for the “Run for the Roses.” His main competition in the 1 1/8-mile race could be his stablemate Bodemeister, who most recently finished second to Creative Cause in the San Felipe Stakes (G2) in just his third career start.

 

Peachtree Farm’s Plum Pretty could have a tough task in Apple Blossom where she is expected to make her seasonal debut against 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace. The 2011 Kentucky Oaks winner has not started since finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (G1) last November. Just before that start she won the Cotillion Stakes (G2) at Parx.  

 

"I just hope the weights are as even and light as possible,” said Baffert jokingly. “I think we should get 10 pounds from (Havre de Grace) I'm not worried about it."

Baffert said he is excited about both his fillies in the Fantasy Stakes, although both will be making consider steps up in competition. Jemima’s Pearl, who raced in Ireland as a juvenile, was purchased privately by Baffert and most recently won an optional allowance race at Santa Anita in her debut for her new connections. Mamma Kimbo will be making her second career start in the Fantasy after winning her career debut Feb. 18 at Santa Anita by 5 1/4 lengths. 

 

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