‘Of All The Juvenile Winners, He’s The Best One’: Baffert Heaps Praise On Game Winner

by | 11.03.2018 | 10:38am
Game Winner makes his move for the win in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

Gary and Mary West's Game Winner proved just that when he overcame a less than ideal trip to take the Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile by 2 ½ lengths on Friday at Churchill Downs. Assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes reported that the colt came out of the race well and will now get a rest.

“He came out of the race in good shape and looked good this morning,” Barnes said. “He just walked this morning and will walk again on Sunday. We ship on Monday.”

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who was winning the Juvenile for a fourth time, was non-committal about future plans, but did say the colt would now get some rest.

“We're going to freshen him up a little bit and get ready for the spring,” Baffert said. “He had a pretty rough (trip) but still won. You can't compare horses, but of all the Juvenile winners (race performance), he's the best one.”

Baffert had previously won the Juvenile with Vindication (2002), Midshipman (2008) and New Year's Day (2013).

KRA Stud Farm's Knicks Go had his trainer Ben Colebrook still beaming Saturday morning after his runner-up effort to Game Winner.

“He ran his eyeballs out yesterday and he is fine this morning,” Colebrook said. “We are going to dodge Game Winner for a while. I don't think (Bob) Baffert will be sending anybody to Tampa.”

Colebrook winters his barn at Tampa Bay Downs and is eyeing that track's series of 3-year-old stakes for Knicks Go in early 2019.


Trainer John Servis reported Saturday morning that Jaywalk exited her front-running triumph in Friday's Tito's Homemade Vodka Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs in fine order.

“She's great, doing really good,” Servis said. “She's bright-eyed; she ate up good.”

The daughter of Cross Traffic broke alertly from the starting gate to grab an early lead that she would never relinquish in her first start around two turns on her way to a 5 ½-length victory under Joel Rosario.

“It was awful impressive. She's got such a fast cruising speed. I didn't expect her to be in front, because (trainer Tom) Amoss said he was going to send his horse (Serengeti Empress) no matter what. I told Joel, 'Just sit off of Amoss. She'll rate. She'll do whatever you want her to do,'” Servis said. “When he came back, he said, 'Two jumps out of the gate and I knew there's wasn't any sitting back.' He said, 'She took me there.' Once she got in front, she just pricked her ears and relaxed.”

Jaywalk ran 1 1/16m in 1:43.62, which compared favorably to Game Winner's winning time of 1:43.67 in the Juvenile two races later on Friday's card.

“They came home good. They ran the last sixteenth in 6-and-2 (seconds), something like that,” Servis said.

Servis has had amazing success at Churchill Downs in limited opportunities, winning with his only Kentucky Derby starter, Smarty Jones (2004), and his only Kentucky Oaks starter, Cathryn Sophia (2016).

“How can you not love it? I come in here and they treat me well here. My horses run well here,” Servis said.

Jaywalk was his second Breeders' Cup starter, following Jostle, who finished ninth in the 2000 Distaff at Churchill.

“I shouldn't have run her. I should have scratched her. She just wasn't right. She wasn't eating up,” Servis said. “She didn't have a temperature, but she wasn't herself.”

Jaywalk is scheduled to fly to West Palm Beach, Fla. Sunday.

“She'll stay at Palm Meadows (Training Center) for a week or so and then I think I'm going to send her to Ocala for 30 days and let her be a horse for a little bit.” Servis said.

With next year's Kentucky Oaks the first major goal, Servis said Jaywalk could take a similar path to the one taken by Cathryn Sophia, who won the Forward Gal and Davona Dale stakes at Gulfstream Park before finishing third in the Ashland at Keeneland.

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