BAFFERT HAS ANOTHER OTHER THREE-YEAR OLD
So here we are in the fall of another Thoroughbred season and guess what…Bob Baffert has a top notch three-year old. So what’s the real news here? Once again the end of the year may see that “other” three-year old catapult to the top.
In Houdini-like fashion, the hall of fame trainer continues to pull rabbits out of the hat. Over the past few years it seems as if the five-time Kentucky Derby winner is just one wand wave away from the winner’s circle at racing’s big events. In 2014, the focus of the male three-year old division was California Chrome. A great story, the Art Sherman trained colt was all the rage in the early part of the year as he won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. But then up jumped the Arizona native with a front-running phenom named Bayern. Under Baffert’s guidance this son of Offlee Wild closed out his year with wins in the Pennsylvania Derby and the Breeders’ Cup Classic leaving Chrome in his wake in each race. Of course 2015 was the year of American Pharoah and there was not a need for Baffert to produce “another” horse as a healthy Triple Crown champ also won the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The next year was back to the magic show as an “abra cadabra” produced the miraculous Arrogate. That big-striding powerhouse set the world on it’s ear with a record-setting win in the Travers Stakes and closed the year with an incredible stretch run to take the Breeders’ Cup Classic Last year with the three-year old division in disarray, West Coast magically appeared with wins in the Travers’ Stakes and Pennsylvania Derby.
Fast forward to 2018 and we may have more of the same award-winning show. After masterfully guiding Justify through a magical six-race stretch that produced another Triple Crown champion, Baffert has that “other” three-year old looking to climb to the top of the division after Jutify’s retirement. McKinzie is realistically unbeaten and has always been full of promise. A steward’s decision knocked him down to second after a grueling stretch duel with Bolt d’Oro in the San Felipe for the only blemish. This son of Street Sense was injured while training afterwards and taken off the Triple Crown trail. With three wins and that second in four lifetime starts, finding the wire first seems to be in his nature. Healing up and biding his time, McKinzie looks primed to climb as an entrant for the Pennsylvania Derby on September 22.
“I think he is ready,” says Baffert. “He may be the second best three-year old this year behind Justify. “
The comeback race is not an easy spot for McKinzie. A field of nine other talented runners featuring the likes of Instilled Regard, Bravazo, Mr. Freeze, and Hofburg will test Baffert’s latest charge. So does that mean the crafty California-based conditioner needs to find a way to saw the lady in half? More than magic it is a keen eye for talent and the ability to get a horse to peak at the right time. I think Baffert has those aspects of the magic show covered. Stay tuned…