Upon first glance, Cezanne could still prove to be $3.65 million well spent.
The hyped 3-year-old purchased for a record sum by Coolmore partners and trained by Bob Baffert debuted a winner Saturday in Santa Anita Park’s sixth race, when he had to split horses and overcome outside pressure before emerging in front past the wire.
It wasn’t the type of runoff score seen by other Baffert sophomores such as Charlatan. But connections paid up recently to make Cezanne a late nomination for the Triple Crown series. Big races could be in his future.
The son of Curlin, plucked out of the Fasig-Tipton auction of 2-year-olds in March of 2019, finally found his groove on the work tab leading up to a delayed unveiling. It was worth the wait as he scored at 2-5, well backed with the word out on this colt.
Under jockey Flavien Prat, Cezanne was away smoothly before ridden up into a four-wide battle for the lead into the turn. One off the fence, Cezanne showed some turn of foot to get to a clear second, then emerged the leader once pace-setting Rayray tired a bit.
Speaking on Santa Anita's simulcast feed, Prat said Cezanne is "probably not a pure sprinter, but he broke well enough to put him in the race.
"...He was really cool before the race. I was worried he was too cool, but he was an old pro."
Cezanne went on to complete 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.13 in a victory that’s sure to draw mixed reviews. A win, yes, but worth the price?
Along with Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, Cezanne is campaigned by St. Elias Stables. Out of the Bernardini mare Achieving, he's from the family of Grade 1 winner Streaming.
The talk of the town and he delivers on debut! A $3.65m son of Curlin, trained by Bob Baffert and racing in the Magnier colours, Cezanne wins under Flavien Prat at @santaanitapark! pic.twitter.com/KWqQ0PlCMo— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) June 6, 2020