ARCADIA, Calif.— Bob Baffert has a monopoly on winning the American Pharoah Stakes, capturing the race named for his 2015 Triple Crown king 10 times in the past 25 runnings.
The two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer has a monopoly on Saturday’s 51st version of the race with four of the eight entrants: unbeaten Cave Rock and National Treasure, and Gandolfini and the maiden Hejazi who should like the distance.
Baffert’s quartet did not come on the cheap, Gandolfini fetching $470,000, Cave Rock $550,000, National Treasure $500,000 and Hejazi $3,550,000 for a total of $5,070,000.
Past winners of the American Pharoah for Baffert were Souvenir Copy (1997), Flame Thrower (2000), Kafwain (2002), Roman Ruler (2004), Lookin At Lucky (2009), Power Broker (2013), American Pharoah (2014), Game Winner (2018), Eight Rings (2019) and Eclipse champion Corniche last year.
The American Pharoah is a telling event as it marks the first two-turn race for the majority in the field of two-year-olds.
“They get the two-turn test and you never know until they do it,” Baffert said, “so we’ll see.
“I hate to run that many in here, but I didn’t have a lot of options since there aren’t many allowance-type races.”
The winner of the American Pharoah receives $180,000 plus 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points. The runner-up receives four points, the third-place finisher two and the fourth one.
The nominated winner will be entitled to automatic entry into the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland on Nov. 4.
The 51st American Pharaoh, run as the FrontRunner Stakes from 2012 to 2017 and the Norfolk Stakes from 1970 to 2011: Gandolfini, Edwin Maldonado, 12-1; Man Child, Hector Berrios, 30-1; Macnamara, Tyler Baze, 50-1; Odonata, Abel Cedillo, 20-1; Cave Rock, Juan Hernandez, 4-5; National Treasure, Ramon Vazquez, 6-1; Skinner, Victor Espinoza, 5-1; and Hejazi, Mike Smith, 5-2.
First post time for Saturday’s 10-race card is 1 p.m.
Santa Anita Park Press Release
Photo: Cave Rock wins the G1 Del Mar Futurity (Ernie Belmonte)
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