After a full moon gave way to sunrise over Santa Anita's infinitely picturesque setting, Bob Baffert sent several of his Breeders' Cup hopefuls through their final major drills Friday morning as the two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer pursues additional victories on racing's championship weekend Nov. 2 and 3 at Churchill Downs.
Already with 14 Breeders' Cup triumphs on his glowing resume, Baffert supervised works by Juvenile favorite Game Winner, Distaff contenders Abel Tasman and Vale Dori, and Filly & Mare Sprint second choice Dream Tree.
Game Winner, under Joe Talamo, worked in company with Ax Man, receiving an identical time of 47 flat, while Abel Tasman and Vale Dori went four furlongs, each in 47.20, breezing. Talamo was on Abel Tasman, while Drayden Van Dyke rode Vale Dori.
“Game Winner went great,” Baffert said enthusiastically. “I'm really happy with that work. Abel and Vale Dori went nice.”
On a bittersweet note, Baffert will bid farewell to barn favorite Hoppertunity, earner of $4,712,625, who is being retired to stud and will stand at Northview PA in 2019 for $5,000.
“He's a warrior,” Baffert said of the seven-year-old son of Any Given Saturday. “He'll dominate in Pennsylvania.”
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