Last month, trainer Bob Baffert said Cezanne was “still a little bit behind” but working well toward his debut in 30 days or so.
Right on schedule, the $3.65 million son of Curlin showed up in the entries this week for Saturday’s blockbuster card at Santa Anita Park.
Campaigned by Coolmore partners, Cezanne drew the rail in a field of seven maidens 3 and up in Race 6 on a card highlighted by the Santa Anita Derby (G1) and Hollywood Gold Cup (G1).
Flavien Prat has the mount on Cezanne, who's likely to go off at a short price. Approximate post time is 6 p.m. ET.
The most expensive horse in Baffert’s barn was plucked out of the Fasig-Tipton Florida Select 2-Year-Olds in Training sale for a record sum. Hip 173, as he was at the time, had drilled the co-second-fastest eighth-mile breeze and galloped out strongly at Gulfstream Park.
Days after the purchase, Baffert called Cezanne a “wow horse.”
Named after the French artist Paul Cézanne, the colt was bred by Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings and Vinnie Viola's St. Elias Stables. Out of the Bernardini mare Achieving, Cezanne is a half-brother to Group 1-placed Arabian Hope and Counterforce, a stakes winner.
A physical setback prevented Cezanne from making what was originally anticipated to be an October debut. But the COVID-19 pandemic and postponed Kentucky Derby to Sept. 5 may put this colt back in play for at least the final two legs of the Triple Crown series with the Preakness Stakes then on Oct. 3.
Cezanne tuned up for this first out with a bullet half-mile breeze Saturday in 47.60 seconds at Santa Anita.
Going back to last fall, Baffert built anticipation for what will happen Saturday with quotes like these: “An old-timer told me one time, ‘How do you know you bought a good horse?’ He says, ‘When you can sell that horse for the same price the next day, you know you made a good buy.’
“…This guy right now, if they said, ‘You know, we want our money back,’ I could find it.”
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