ARCADIA – Trainer Bob Baffert has enjoyed a really good opening weekend in Santa Anita over the past three days. Baffert, 68, won the $300,000 Grade I Stakes on Friday and Saturday, a pair of American Pharoah and The Osm Again, and capped even-money favorite Private Mission to an easy win in the $200,000 Grade II Zenyatta Stakes on Sunday. His trifecta by seedling.
It hasn’t been an easy five months for Baffert since the medina spirit tested positive for an illegal substance following his victory in the Kentucky Derby this year, but he says he’s just going to train horses and put other stuff in the courtroom. Concentrating on letting play.
“Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t,” he said. “I was disappointed in my fillings in (Friday’s Chandelier Stakes). They just didn’t show up. It happens, but the rest of the week went well. They showed up and they ran well.”
Private Mission, a 3-year caper filmed, won by 2 1/4 lengths and paid all birth expenses at the Breeders’ Cup Distaff in Del Mar on 6 November. He started four out of five, and a 1 1/16-mile time of 1:43.77 was a serious watch on Santa Anita’s deep and tiring main track.
“That filly just keeps getting better and better,” Baffert said. “She has been bred to be a really good horse so we are very excited about it.”
Baffert said she gave Private Mission a seven-month break after winning the Desi Arnaz Stakes in Del Mar on November 14, when she was not training to the satisfaction of the Hall of Famer.
“She’s a big filly and I let her grow on her own,” he said. “If they’re not enjoying what they’re doing then I stop at them and give them time.”
The classy 5-year-old mare C Ce gave jockey Victor Espinoza her first win, winning a $100,000 Grade III sprint for the Phillies and Mars as the 1-5 favorite.
CE CE, coached by Michael McCarthy, closed in third in the five-horse field and took his seventh victory in 15 starts running 6 furlongs in 1:16.00.
On deck, a 31-1 longshot, finished one neck to second on the Scottish star.
zuma beach bets
McKinnon won it two consecutive stakes, winning the $200,000 race for 2-year-olds on mile 1 on the turf as a 6-5 favorite for jockey Juan Hernandez and trainer Doug O’Neill.
American Pharoah Colt went into the race on September 6 with a 1 3/4-length victory at Del Mar Juvenile Turf and made three of five starts.
McKinnon, who closed early from sixth place, won by 2 1/4 lengths over Silver Surfer, who was second by 1 1/4 lengths over Picotta. The final time was 1:33.80.
surfer girl stakes
The Cairo Memories, a 4-1 shot, led jockey Kent DeSormo and trainer Robert Hayes Jr. to win 1 mile on the lawn in a $200,000 event for the 2-year-old Phillies.
A daughter of the Cairo Prince, Cairo Memories joined the race by a 4 1/2-length victory in her debut at Del Mar on 5 September.
Helens Vail, the 3-2 favourite, finished second, 2 1/4 lengths behind the winner. Hemmerle finished third, a neck behind Helens Vale. The final time was 1:34.27.
open me bets
The Peter Miller-trained Zero Tolerance won the $75,000 Unzip Me Stakes for the 3-year-old Phillies down the mountain turf course, as of the first win at Del Mar on August 20.
Mizen Mast’s daughter, ruled by Flavian Pratt, closed from sixth place and took her second win in three starts and won the first stake.
Zero tolerance won by length, followed by an 11-1 longshot win by Carpe Fortuna, who grabbed 8-5 favorite Burgue Ale by a neck for second. The final time for 6 1/2 furlongs was 1:11.67.