West Coast and Collected, in their final major drills for the world's richest race, the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at GulfstreamPark next Saturday, each went in company Sunday morning at Santa Anita under jockey Drayden Van Dyke.
West Coast, favored to win an Eclipse Award this Thursday as the outstanding three-year-old male of 2017, went five furlongs in a minute flat, while stablemate Coil's Gold was given a four furlong time of 47.80.
Pacific Classic winner Collected, also with Van Dyke in the irons, went four furlongs in 46.20. Workmate Power Cat was clocked in 47.20.
Also working Sunday morning for Baffert was undefeated Triple Crown contender McKinzie, a candidate for the Grade II San Felipe Stakes on March 10. The son of Street Sense, with Van Dyke yet again aboard, went four furlongs in 49 flat, while stablemate Downtowner was given 49.40.
“West Coast went really well,” Baffert said after the drill at 7:45, when temperatures were rising from just above the freezing mark of two hours earlier. “He's coming into the race without any bumps in the road, like any other big race.
“I'm pretty happy. We gave him a stiff work the other day (a six furlong gate drill in a bullet 1:12, in company with Cat Burglar, last Sunday), but today he was on it. He wanted to do more. He looked great coming off the track. I felt really good about his work.”
As for Collected, who gave Pegasus favorite and likely Horse of the Year Gun Runner a serious test before finishing second to him in the Pacific Classic, but who failed to show his usual alacrity when a disappointing third behind Giant Expectations in the San Antonio Stakes Dec. 26, Baffert was inclined to draw a proverbial line through that race.
“We didn't really super-crank him for it,” said the Hall of Fame trainer, who celebrated his 65th birthday on Jan. 13. “We're taking the Pegasus with a different approach.
“He'll be ready.”
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