Bob Baffert was hit by the double whammy of Nadal’s retirement and, just days later, Charlatan’s injury, subtracting both of them out of the 2020 Kentucky Derby picture. But the Hall of Fame trainer's Derby dream hasn't died. He has two well-bred, expensive backup plans emerging from the stable and likely headed toward stakes company. Let's see if they're made for the Triple Crown series.
(Curlin - Achieving, by Bernardini)
Cezanne made headlines last year as a record $3.65 million Fasig-Tipton Fasig-Tipton 2-year-old purchase by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, and St. Elias Stables. Baffert’s patience with this Curlin colt was rewarded with a 2 1/4-length victory Saturday in his 6 1/2-furlong debut at Santa Anita Park.
Pedigree: Cezanne has the bloodlines and conformation to handle middle to classic distances.
Curlin gets winners at all distances and is on his way to becoming a sire of sires. His best sons include Breeders’ Cup Classic victor Vino Rosso, Preakness winner Exaggerator, Belmont Stakes hero Palace Malice, Travers winner Keen Ice and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champ Good Magic.
Cezanne is a direct descendant of the superior females Best in Show, Blush with Pride and Better than Honor, who are his fifth through third dams, respectively. That means Cezanne’s second dam, Teeming, is a half-sister to champion 3-year-old filly Rags to Riches, who fought with Curlin in an epic Belmont Stakes battle, defeating him by a head. Teeming is also a half-sister to Belmont Stakes winner Jazil and Peter Pan winner Casino Drive, plus she is a three-quarter sister to Breeders’ Cup Marathon hero Man of Iron.
Teeming’s daughter, Achieving, scored only one victory in five starts. But the class of her family has been passed along to her offspring.
Cezanne is a fourth foal, and two of his siblings own blacktype. His three-quarter brother Counterforce (Smart Strike) is a 24-race veteran with earnings of $323,708. Counterforce won the 2016 six-furlong Bachelor Stakes at Oaklawn Park and placed in three other stakes, all sprints.
Cezanne’s half-sister, Arabian Hope, won the listed Ganton Stakes in England and placed in the Falmouth (G1) at a mile. She also won the International Istanbul Trophy (G3) in Turkey.
Cezanne’s half-brother, J and L, was unplaced in two starts. Achieving has an unnamed 2-year-old colt by Liam’s Map and an unnamed yearling full sister to Cezanne.
Cezanne’s female family also includes Streaming, winner of the 2013 Hollywood Starlet (G1), and Cascading, who captured Woodbine’s Glorious Song Stakes as a 2-year-old.
The direct cross of Curlin/Bernardini has produced two stakes winners; last year’s Black-Eyed Susan (G2) winner Point of Honor, who also placed in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), Alabama Stakes (G1) and the 2020 Apple Blossom (G1), plus the gelding Amundson, who won this year’s six-furlong Hollie Hughes Stakes at Aqueduct.
Overall, the Smart Strike/A.P. Indy cross has resulted in 21 graded/listed winners. The bulk are best between eight and nine furlongs.
Upon first glance, Cezanne could still prove to be $3.65 million well spent. ??June 6, 2020
(Union Rags - Home of the Blues, by Street Cry (IRE))
Baffert-trained Ragtime Blues is another up-and-comer on the Derby trail. The son of Union Rags finished second in his 2-year-old debut, sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs at Los Alamitos. He didn’t see action until this April, when he graduated in an Oaklawn Park six-furlong maiden event, the day before stablemate Eight Rings finished off the board in the Bachelor Stakes. A month later, Ragtime Blues confirmed his quality with a 2 1/4-length victory over Zimba Warrior sprinting six furlongs over Santa Anita’s main track.
Ragtime Blues was a $500,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase by the combined forces of SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Stonestreet Stables LLC, Frederick Hertrich III, John Fielding and Golconda Stables.
Pedigree: Ragtime Blues has middle distance/classic-oriented breeding.
Belmont Stakes hero Union Rags has 14 graded/listed winners, led by multiple Grade 1 winner Paradise Woods, who earned $1,123,890 in 18 starts. The bulk of Union Rags’ offspring are best up to nine furlongs. Two of his foals, Grade 3-winning turf router Big Bend and French listed winner Musawaah, have been successful at 10 furlongs and farther.
Ragtime Blues’ dam, Home of the Blues, never visited the winner's circle in 10 lifetime starts. But her foals are competitive. Ragtime Blues’ older half-brother, Tough Love, has hit the board in four of five starts. An unnamed 2-year-old Carpe Diem brother recorded a 21.1 work at the 2020 OBS 2-year-old sale and hasn’t gone through the ring as of this writing. Home of the Blues has a yearling Dialed In filly and an unnamed weaning colt by Bernardini.
The highlight of Ragtime Blues’ second generation is Home of the Blues’ half-sister, 2009 Champion Female Sprinter Informed Decision. This is the distaff line of multiple Grade 1 winners Bankers Lady, Del Mar Oaks (G1) heroine Personal Diary and multiple graded handicap horse Ecton Park.
Street Cry (IRE) was last year’s sixth-leading broodmare sire by earnings, led in part by Champion Older Dirt Male Vino Rosso. Street Cry’s daughters have produced 67 graded/listed winners, and they have no distance limitations.
Congratulations to all the partners on Ragtime Blues victory today in the 6th race @santaanitapark for trainer Bob Baffert, Irad Ortiz was aboard. Mo Hawk was 3rd for #StarlightRacing #SF #Madaket pic.twitter.com/TTmeh11za6— Starlight Racing (@StarlightRacing) May 26, 2020