Bob Baffert is not only masterful at getting a horse to be at their best for a targeted race, he is also equally masterful at picking the right spots. When he skipped the Dubai World Cup, a race he has had success in, you just knew there was another target race where McKinzie would be ultra-tough. That race turns out to be the Santa Anita handicap to be run tomorrow at the Great Race Place.
“When they canceled the (Santa Anita Handicap), I was just, ‘Damn it, I could have gone to Dubai.’ But I really think McKinzie, he’s going to get better with age,” Bob Baffert said. “It’s hard to turn down $12 million, but the thing about Dubai: It’s not an easy ship. It’s like, you’d be the favorite, but it’s a tough ship.
A win on Saturday would vault McKinzie towards the top of a weak older horse division here in the US. With the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita, staying home for the Big Cap makes all the sense in the world. Probably some dollars too. The biggest obstacle McKinzie may face may not be the competition, but the mile and a quarter distance. If he can get that, he will be formidable.