Talented Cave Rock Challenges in GI American Pharoah

October 6, 2022

Breeders’ Cup ‘Win & You’re In’ Challenge Race Qualifier

ARCADIA, Calif.— Easily the most impressive juvenile this past summer at Del Mar, Bob Baffert’s undefeated Cave Rock heads Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 American Pharoah Stakes at Santa Anita as eight juvenile colts go a mile and one sixteenth

A Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” Challenge Race qualifier, the American Pharoah winner will earn a fees-paid berth into the Grade I, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Nov. 4 at Keeneland.

A six length first-out maiden winner going 6 ½ furlongs on Aug. 13, Cave Rock, a $550,000 Keeneland September Yearling, was totally dominant as the 2-5 favorite in the Grade I Del Mar Futurity Sept. 11, winning by 5 ¼ lengths while earning a 98 Beyer Speed Figure, which followed a 101 Beyer in his debut.

A dark bay or brown colt by Arrogate out of the Bellamy Road mare Georgie’s Angel, Cave Rock is owned by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman and will be ridden for the third time by Juan Hernandez.

Hejazi in a work at Santa Anita. Photo by Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire

Baffert, who will saddle half the field in the race named in honor of his 2015 Triple Crown Champion, will likely dominate on Saturday as his Hejazisecond as the favorite in a pair of 5 ½ furlong races on Aug. 20 and Sept. 10, should be very tough with Mike Smith riding back.

Second, beaten 1 ¼ lengths by stablemate and next-out turf stakes winner Speed Boat Beach Sept. 10, Hejazi earned an American Pharoah-best last out Beyer of 100 and should appreciate a route of ground.

Purchased for $3,550,000 by Zedan Racing Stables Inc. out of a 2-year-old i

A solid 1 ½ lengths first-out maiden winner going 6 ½ furlongs Sept. 3, Baffert’s National Treasurea $550,000 yearling purchase, also rates a big chance with Ramon Vazquez aboard.  A bay colt by Quality Road out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Treasure, he’s owned by SF Racing, LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, LLC, et al.

Rounding out Baffert’s Fearsome Foursome is Gandolfini, who broke his maiden at first asking going one mile at Los Alamitos on Sept. 17.  With Ramon Vazquez sticking with National Treasure, Gandolfini will be ridden by Edwin Maldonado.

By 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify, Gandolfini is owned by SF Racing, LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, LLC, et al.

First post time for a 10-race card on Saturday is at 1 p.m.

1. GANDOLFINI                       Edwin Maldonado      Bob Baffert  
2. MAN CHILD                         Hector Berrios            Ryan Hanson
3. MACNAMARA                     Tyler Baze                 Jeff Engler
4. ODONATA                           Abel Cedillo               Doug O’Neill
5. CAVE ROCK                        Juan Hernandez        Bob Baffert
6. NATIONAL TREASURE       Ramon Vazquez        Bob Baffert
7. SKINNER                             Victor Espinoza          John Shirreffs
8. HEJAZI                                Mike Smith                 Bob Baffert

Santa Anita Press Release
Main photo: Cave Rock (Ernie Belmonte)

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