Easily the most impressive juvenile this past summer at Del Mar, Bob Baffert’s undefeated Cave Rock heads Saturday’s Grade 1, $300,000 American Pharoah Stakes at Santa Anita as eight juvenile colts go 1 1/16 miles.
A Breeders’ Cup “win & you’re in” qualifier, the American Pharoah winner will earn a fees-paid berth into the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Nov. 4 at Keeneland.
A six length first-out maiden winner going 6 1/2 furlongs on Aug. 13, Cave Rock, a $550,000 Keeneland September Yearling, was totally dominant as the 2-5 favorite in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity Sept. 11, winning by 5 1/4 lengths while earning a 98 Beyer Speed Figure, which followed a 101 Beyer in his debut.
A dark bay or brown colt by Arrogate out of the Bellamy Road mare Georgie’s Angel, Cave Rock is owned by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman and will be ridden for the third time by Juan Hernandez.
Baffert, who will saddle half the field in the race named in honor of his 2015 Triple Crown Champion, will likely dominate on Saturday as his Hejazi, second as the favorite in a pair of 5 1/2 furlong races on Aug. 20 and Sept. 10, should be very tough with Mike Smith riding back.
Second, beaten 1 1/4 lengths by stablemate and next-out turf stakes winner Speed Boat Beach Sept. 10, Hejazi earned an American Pharoah-best last out Beyer of 100 and should appreciate a route of ground.
Purchased for $3,550,000 by Zedan Racing Stables Inc. out of a 2-year-old in training sale this past May, Hejazi is by Bernardini out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare G Note.
A solid 1 1/2 lengths first-out maiden winner going 6 ½ furlongs Sept. 3, Baffert’s National Treasure, a $550,000 yearling purchase, also rates a big chance with Ramon Vazquez aboard. A bay colt by Quality Road out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Treasure, he’s owned by SF Racing, LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, LLC, et al.
Rounding out Baffert’s Fearsome Foursome is Gandolfini, who broke his maiden at first asking going one mile at Los Alamitos on Sept. 17. With Ramon Vazquez sticking with National Treasure, Gandolfini will be ridden by Edwin Maldonado.
By 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify, Gandolfini is owned by SF Racing, LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, LLC, et al.
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