Baffert Quartet Set to Make Flight to Pimlico Saturday

May 12, 2023

National Treasure hits the track April 22 (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Santa Anita Stable Notes by Victor Ryan

ARCADIA, Calif.— Four horses trained by Bob Baffert—National Treasure, Arabian Lion, Faiza, and Havnameltdown—are set to fly to Pimlico Saturday after each worked Friday morning at Santa Anita.

For National Treasure, who exits a fourth in the GI Santa Anita Derby April 8, it will be on to next Saturday’s 148th Preakness Stakes going 1 3/16 miles. He drilled four furlongs on a track listed as fast in 47.40 seconds. Last Saturday, the Quality Road colt worked six furlongs in a sharp 1:11.20.

“He had a hard work last week. Today was just a nice steady move,” Baffert said.

National Treasure is winless in four starts since winning his debut at Del Mar last September. Prior to the Santa Anita Derby, he was third in the GIII Sham here Jan. 8 and then was scratched as the morning-line favorite in the GII San Felipe March 4 due to a bruised hoof.

“This is a horse we’ve always been high on,” Baffert said. “He lost some training time ahead of the Santa Anita Derby, but he’s been working well since. The Preakness distance shouldn’t be a problem.”

Baffert will be seeking a record eighth win in the Preakness with National Treasure. His most recent victory in the second jewel of the Triple Crown came in 2018 with Justify, who would sweep that year’s Triple Crown.

Arabian Lion bested by First Mission in the Lexington (G3) April 15 at Keeneland (JennyPhoto/Past The Wire)

Arabian Lion was also under consideration for the Preakness, but Baffert said that as of Friday the plan was to run him in the $100,000 Sir Barton for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles. Arabian Lion’s work Friday came while hooking company with a horse trained by Mark Glatt. He was officially credited with a six-furlong move in 1:12.80.

Arabian Lion has made two starts as a 3-year-old. The Justify colt was fourth in the GII Robert B. Lewis Feb. 4 and was most recently beaten just a half-length in the GII Lexington at Keeneland April 15.

“Coming out of the turn in the Lexington it looked like he was going to be the winner,” Baffert said of Arabian Lion. “We’re going to give him one more chance going two turns. After this we’ll know more about him.”

Undefeated Faiza after her Santa Anita Oaks (G2) score April 8 (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

GII Santa Anita Oaks winner Faiza is ticketed to next Friday’s GII Black-Eyed Susan going 1 1/8 miles. The Girvin filly, who has never been beaten in five starts, worked five furlongs in 1:00.40.

“She’s just a good horse that always does what she needs to do,” said her Hall of Fame trainer.

Baffert has won the Black-Eyed Susan three times with the last being in 2013 with Fiftyshadesofhay.

Havnameltdown will be coming off a nearly three-month layoff when he goes in next Saturday’s GIII Chick Lang for 3-year-olds going six furlongs. He has not started since shipping to Riyadh where he ran second in the GIII Saudi Derby Feb. 25.

On Friday, Havnameltdown worked five furlongs in a bullet 59.60 seconds. Six days earlier the Uncaptured colt blitzed four furlongs here in a bullet 45.60 seconds.

“He worked nice. He went fast last time,” Baffert noted.

Prior to his trip to Saudi Arabia, Havnameltdown won a pair of Grade III stakes going seven furlongs: the San Vicente here on Jan. 29 and the Bob Hope at Del Mar last November.

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