Baffert: ‘Pretty Strong’ Classic Contingent Have ‘All Got To Get By Gun Runner’

by | 10.23.2017 | 6:44pm
Baffert keeps watch over Pennsylvania Derby favorite West Coast

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has a four-wide contingent headed for the Breeders' Cup Classic at Del Mar: defending champion Arrogate, Pacific Classic winner Collected, Travers/Pennsylvania Derby winner West Coast, and Awesome Again winner Mubtaahij.

“It's a pretty strong group that I have in the Classic,” Baffert told in an interview this week. “I don't know if a trainer's ever had this kind of a hand before in the Classic, and I just hope we can pull it off.”

Despite the strength of his Classic “hand,” Baffert is still rightly concerned about eastern invader Gun Runner, dominant winner of his last three starts for trainer Steve Asmussen.

“You throw Gun Runner in the mix and this is probably one of the toughest Classics that we've seen in a while now,” said Baffert. “We're still a couple of weeks out, and anyway we've all got to get by Gun Runner and that's not going to be easy. You know he's a really good horse and I don't know if Arrogate's even going to be the favorite right now.”

In addition to his Classic runners, Baffert has strong contenders in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (Abel Tasman) and in the Sprint (defending champion Drefong). Each of those is in contention for a year-end championship, as are several of his horses in the Classic.

Both Baffert trainees Mor Spirit and Cupid are expected to be pre-entered in the Dirt Mile as well.

“You always need luck,” cautioned Baffert. “Don't forget that. Racing luck is the one thing you cannot do without.”


  • J

    BAFFERT IS running for 2nd & probably 3rd.

    • dan gable

      Collected sure to be on Gun Runner’s throat latch. Predict Gun Runner spits the bit like he’s coughing up an Assmussen hair ball, setting it up for West Coast. He’s home!!!!

      • mongo98

        Dan Gable, I think you are right, West Coast will be the winner of The Classic.

        • Flying J

          West Coast may emerge the winner, but not Gun Runner will not spit the bit, too much class for that.

          • Al Milano

            A few years ago Game on Dude was the chalk to smoke the Classic, except that there were faster horses in the race and he never saw the lead. Taken out of his game, he did indeed spit the bit. This time Baffert has the group that can lay it on the Asmussen sure thing.

          • Wild Oats

            I think Mubtaahij or Keen Ice will surprise everyone!

        • SteveD

          There’s only one horse that can possibly beat GR.. and he’s certainly not a 3 yo..;)

      • Ida Lee

        There will be no “bit or hair ball spitting” for Gun Runner….just a nonchalant walk to the winner’s circle ….and I’ve mentioned this before, look out for Gunnevera ….

        • Julie L.

          Gun Runner definitely the one to catch and agree that a different Gun could walk away with the Classic. Also think there is another cool customer who could upset named Keen Ice. Boy if he does, what a giant killer he will go down in racing as.

          • Ida Lee

            So right Julie….in one of my other comments, I have Keen Ice as possibly the most dangerous runner in the Classic…you never know what this cool guy is going to do….it may be just another day at the races for him or “I think I’ll take this one” kind of day …. so let’s just say…Mission: Possible but not Probable….

      • SteveD


      • joe rifkin

        Great call sir

  • verite

    Luck? LOL!!!!
    Garcia makes it by turning left after the break!

  • whirlaway

    Ray thanks for your tweet Ben’s Cat day Nov 11th is wonderful a special tribute and thank you
    for mentioning Capt. Rose amazing story.

  • Al McBean

    I am still trying to figure out how exactly is gun runner the horse to beat at 10fs when he’s never won at 10fs in his life…makes no sense.

    • Look at the horse,
      no sarcasim..just saying
      conformation says 10 easy (;-)

      • Al McBean

        he’s a really good horse but not at 10fs but that’s why they run the race.

  • Bill B.

    I’m not a big Baffert fan anymore and don’t like his strong influence of this trend of the best horses running less often in recent years, but he is quite correct. Never has a trainer entered the BCC with four horses of this caliber. If Gun Runner were not to be entered, I think he’d have the first four betting choices. Even a non-fan has to be impressed by that.

    • Michael Castellano

      “Never has a trainer entered the BCC with four horses of this caliber.” Makes you wonder about the odds of any trainer ever having four contenders in the same major race, no matter how big a stable he has. Pletcher has had 3 or 4 in the Derby, but they were not all top choices.

      • DDAmasa

        Yes those odds do make one wonder…

      • Chris Miskell

        Aiden O’ Brien does it often enough overseas.

        • Michael Castellano

          Also is pause for concern.

        • Theophylline

          Private trainer for Ballydoyle has endless supply of the best stock on the planet. Much different than having the top 4 with 4 different owners.

          • Chris Miskell

            That is definitely true.

    • Tammy Fese

      not a baffert fan ether, him running 4 of hes horses in 1 race gives kinda a unfair advantage.

      • MLS

        Right, because those horses didn’t win a qualifying race to be entered in the BCC lol

      • Judoon

        Lol, yeah, so unfair that he gets good horses and enters them in big races that are the goals of other top trainers as well. Wah, wah!

  • Up the track Jack

    If Collected gets to run loose on the lead he is gone. I could see a scenario where opposing Jocks let him go and he wins!

    • verite

      up the track … what an interesting moniker

    • Chris Miskell

      With the amount of speed Gun Runner showed the other day, do you really think he’s going to sit back and let Collected steal it?

  • Ida Lee

    “All got to get by Gun Runner” …. truer words have never been spoken …..

  • FRO

    I will be at DELMAR!! hope all the talk goes this way until the gate pops open ……go ahead just forget about ARROGATE

  • Kaye from PA

    Arrogate destroys this field. Gun Runner out of the money

    • joe rifkin

      Good call

  • Olebobbowers

    I usually pass on anything to do with Baffart, but this time I respect him. Why, you ask, (i hope) because seeing that photo above served me well, as my AARP dues are due and what a great reminder he provided me! ~

  • Kathryn R Wilt

    Count out West Coast at your peril. Very strong field with Keen Ice and Mutaj. I really like Gunny but Arro’s morning breeze was aces. And I hate to see a horse retired when he is cranked…so now or never and that,to me, means, full-on Arro.

  • Lehane

    Wishful thinking on my part, but I’d love to see Arrogate win.

  • Danny Jimenez

    Arrogate is going to smoke this field in sub 2:00 and no one can run that in this bunch…none!

  • Whynotwest

    Sometimes I feel the less confident Baffert sounds, the more confident he is.

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