Lady Ninja, who posted a pulsating nose victory over favored Selcourt in the LA Woman Stakes last Saturday, is bound for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at seven furlongs on Nov. 2, trainer Richard Baltas confirmed Saturday morning.
Baltas claimed the five-year-old Kentucky-bred mare for $32,000 on Sept. 1, 2018, but this would not be his first former claimer to run in a Breeders' Cup race, having done so previously with Freedom Crest (2001 Classic) and Big Macher (2015 Sprint).
Freedom Crest was claimed out of his third start and would earn $648,850 in his career, the vast majority for Baltas and owners Calvin Nguyen and Joey Tran. Claimed from his first start on July 17, 2013 in which he finished seventh, Big Macher earned $744,288 all under the aegis of Baltas for owners Tom Mansor and Tachycardia Stables.
“She came out of her race good,” Baltas said of Lady Ninja. “She's the third horse that I've claimed that has gone on to the Breeders' Cup. She'll be a longshot and it looks like a tough race, but she's on her home track where she's won five races.”
Among Freedom Crest's seven victories after the claim was the Grade II Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap at Santa Anita in 2001, while Big Macher won eight races, including the Grade I Bing Crosby in 2014.
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