Baffert has had a knack of winning stakes with
thoroughbreds named for outstanding college coaches. He previously trained
champion Midnight Lute and Da Stoops, both named for University of Arizona
Baffert’s next star may be named after a basketball
superstar. The white-haired trainer said that Alcindor, a late-developing
3-year-old colt, had earned a start in the $250,000 Grade I Malibu Stakes at
Santa Anita December 26 after a smashing seven-furlong allowance win here
Sunday, his second triumph in as many starts.
Alcindor, a towering colt, hopes to stand as tall in
his division as Lew Alcindor, the seven-foot basketball Hall of Famer who
played under that name in high school and college before changing it to Kareem
Abdul-Jabbar in the NBA.
Baffert also plans to send out contenders in
2-year-old championships here this month: Sharp Cat Stakes winner May Day Rose
in the $250,000 Grade I Starlet for fillies on December 11 and Awesome Patriot
in the $750,000 Grade I CashCall Futurity on December 18.
Baffert added another promising 2-year-old to his
barn this week in Clearance Clarence after Summit Stable purchased a majority
interest in the colt.
Other probable Starlet starters include Moccasin
Stakes winner Turbulent Descent, Darley Debutante winner Tell a Kelly, Eastern
invader Nina Fever and True Way
Other probable Futurity starters include Hollywood
Prevue Stakes winner Premier Pegasus, Real Quiet and Generous Stakes winner
Comma to the Top, Hollywood Juvenile Championship and Del Mar Futurity winner
J.P.’s Gusto, Industry Leader and Clubhouse Ride.