ARCADIA, Calif.— Bob Baffert, fresh from winning last Saturday’s Pennsylvania Derby with Santa Anita Derby winner Taiba, seeks his seventh victory in the Grade I Awesome Again Stakes this Saturday.
The Hall of Fame trainer has entered four horses—Country Grammer, Azul Coast, Defunded and High Connection—in the Awesome Again for three-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles. Baffert’s Awesome Again roll began in 1998, with his 1997 Kentucky Derby winner, Silver Charm. Then came three in a row, with Richard’s Kid in 2010 and Game On Dude in 2011 and 2012.
Mubtaahig gave Baffert win number five in 2017 followed by his sixth with Medina Spirit in 2021.
The $300,000 Awesome Again is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race giving the nominated winner a fees-paid entry into the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland Nov. 5.
Country Grammer was a game second in the GII San Diego Handicap on July 30.
Country Grammer, who finished 19 ¼ lengths behind undefeated Flightline in the Pacific Classic on Sept. 3, worked six furlongs in company Sunday with Native Diver winner Azul Coast, who has not raced in more than nine months. Both were clocked in 1:13.20.
“They both went nice,” said Baffert, adding that “if all’s well” Taiba will take on Flightline in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. High Connection breezed five furlongs Sunday in 59.80.
Baffert might have been somewhat circumspect when Taiba was surrounded down the backstretch in the race at Parx.
“I was concerned he might get boxed in but once he got outside in the stretch he really got rolling,” Baffert said.
“It was very impressive.”
Santa Anita Press Release
Photo: Country Grammer (inside #2) wins by a head after a duel around the turn with Royal Ship (#1) in the Hollywood Gold Cup May 31, 2021. (Benoit Photos)