Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert won his 100th stakes race at Del Mar Friday as Kaleem Shah’s 6-5 favored Fed Biz, unraced since last February, rallied after being passed in deep stretch to outgame Jimmy Creed in the featured $100,000 El Cajon Stakes under a rousing ride by jockey Joe Talamo.
Fed Biz, considered a top Triple Crown prospect last winter, went to the sidelines after impressive wins in two starts at Santa Anita. Despite the layoff, the talented son of Giant’s Causeway, a $950,000 Keeneland yearling purchase, was made the El Cajon betting choice after a series of blazing workouts under Baffert’s direction.
Fed Biz hit the wire a neck in front of Jimmy Creed and jockey Garrett Gomez after falling back by as much as a head with less than a furlong remaining of the one-mile contest over Del Mar’s main track.
Third in the field of five three-year-olds was Unusual Heatwave, 1 ¼ lengths behind Jimmy Creed and 4 ½ lengths ahead of Shaun Washington. Private Zone was last. Tribal Tribute was withdrawn from the original line-up.
Baffert is the all-time leader in number of stakes victories at Del Mar, ahead of five fellow Hall of Famers, Ron McAnally (75), who is still active; the late Charlie Whittingham (74), the late Bobby Frankel (70), and Richard Mandella (49) and D. Wayne Lukas (48), both still active. Baffert began the current meeting with 93 stakes triumphs. In addition, Fed Biz gave the trainer his 18th win this summer, moving him into a three-way tie atop the standings with Doug O’Neill and Peter Miller with four days remaining of the 37-day session.
Fed Biz, scoring his third win in four starts, returned $4.60, $3 and $2.40 while earning $60,000 in first money to increase his career total to $131, 100. Jimmy Creed, third choice at 5-2, paid $3.20 and $2.40, while Unusual Heatwave returned $2.20 to show.
With a two-day carryover of $432,260 and $2,082,401 Friday in “new” money for a total Pick Six pool of $2,514,661, there were five perfect tickets and each was worth $308,928.40.