Barnes-Baffert Team Preps Improbable for G2 Oaklawn Handicap

April 27, 2020

G1 winner Improbable completed major preparations for the $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) for older horses at 1 1/8 miles May 2 with a 5-furlong workout over a fast track Sunday morning at Oaklawn for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. Later in the day, Improbable drew post 14 of 14 for the race, the second straight race where he’s drawn on the far outside.

Improbable breezed after the first surface renovation break under Martin Garcia, covering the distance in 1:00.20. Clockers caught the flashy chestnut in :37 for his opening 3 furlongs and galloping out in 6 furlongs in 1:12.60 and 7 furlongs in 1:26.20.

Improbable is seeking his first career victory at Oaklawn after three runner-up finishes – first division of the $750,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) and $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) last year and the $150,000 Oaklawn Mile April 11 in his 4-year-old debut. Improbable has been under the care of Jimmy Barnes, Baffert’s traveling assistant, for all three races.

In the Oaklawn Mile, Improbable was beaten three-quarters of a length by millionaire Grade 1 winner Tom’s d’Etat after acting up in the starting gate and breaking from the extreme outside, post 11, under Drayden Van Dyke. Improbable has had a history of getting antsy in the gate.

“He ran a winning race,” the Southern California-based Baffert said. “Got beat by a really good horse. His gate issues, I don’t know why … you take him in the morning and you could set a bomb off in the gate and he won’t move. He knows. He’s smart. That’s the reason I left him there. That gate crew is getting to know him really well, and I think that’s going to help. Jimmy said the starter has been working with things on him and they’re going to figure him out. We’ll see what happens.”

Improbable schooled in the gate April 19 and breezed a half-mile in :49.40 Tuesday morning.

A son of the late City Zip, Improbable has a 4-3-0 record from 11 lifetime starts and earnings of $949,520 according to Equibase. Improbable was unbeaten in three starts at 2, including the $300,000 Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) at Los Alamitos, before suffering his first career loss in the Rebel, which was his 2019 debut.

Oaklawn Park Press Release 

Photo: Improbable works at Oaklawn. Credit: Oaklawn Park

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