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Breeders' Cup 2017

Baffert Off and Running at Santa Anita

Bob Baffert is off and running in pursuit of his 11th Santa Anita training title, which would add to his existing record. The 59-year-old Hall of Fame conditioner, 25 pounds slimmer since suffering a heart attack in Dubai last March, has won six races through the first three days of the 24-day meet that ends on Nov. 4, four in front his closest rivals.

He also leads in stakes-winning horses with three, all of which were ridden by Rafael Bejarano. But that doesn’t mean Baffert keeps all his eggs in one basket.

“He may not fit every horse that I have,” Baffert said of Bejarano, who has few if any
flaws as a rider and thus is always favored to win the crown at any Southern California track at which he chooses to make his permanent venue.

“Martin Garcia is back in there, and we also use (Joe) Talamo,” Baffert said. “They’re young and they ride at a high level day in and day out, and that’s what you need.

“Bejarano rides a lot of favorites, and that creates extra pressure, but at the same time, you become somewhat immune to it and you’re not going to worry about what your odds are. If he gets off one that might get beat, he gets on another one and he can make it up.

“He came off that spill last Friday and ran second in the first race he rode for me, and it was my horse that beat him, but the other horse is a better horse,” Baffert said, speaking of Title Contender and Code West, the one-two finishers in Saturday’s first race.

“His first winner back was Executiveprivilege and he rode her beautifully.”

 

 

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