Baoma Corp's Bast, already a two-time Grade 1 winner, grabbed the lead at the start and refused to relinquish it in Saturday's Grade 1 Starlet Stakes at Los Alamitos. The second choice in the wagering at 2-1, the juvenile daughter of Uncle Mo turned the tables on Breeders' Cup runner up Donna Veloce, the 1-5 favorite, winning by three-quarters of a length on the wire. The victory earned Bast 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks, and was also the third straight year that trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Drayden Van Dyke have teamed up to win the Starlet.
Bast ran 1 1/16 miles over Los Alamitos' main track rated “good” in 1:43.36.
“She was doing so much better for this race than she was before the Breeders' Cup (Juvenile Fillies) race,” Baffert said. “I think the race before (a neck win in the Grade I Chandelier Sept. 27) took a lot out of her. She was training like she did at Del Mar. That day (Nov. 1 when third in the Juvenile Fillies) was my fault. I told (jockey John Velazquez) to get her into the race early and she got involved with some fast fractions. She did well to hang on for third because that track was so deep and tiring. We knew when we got her on this dirt surface she would love it and she just bounced over it. Turning for home I was confident because she had been doing so well and her last work was so strong. She looked great in the paddock today.''
In addition to sweeping the Starlet and Los Alamitos for a third consecutive year, Baffert won three other races Saturday, making him the first trainer to have a five win day at Los Alamitos since daytime thoroughbred racing returned in 2014 and the five wins were in succession as he captured races 4-8.
“I thought all five of these horses were live, but usually that means you're lucky if you win one,'' he said. “You never know. It worked out well.''
Van Dyke and Bast broke on top of the five-filly field and went straight to the lead, flanked by Donna Veloce all the way around the oval. With a half-length advantage, Bast set fractions of :22.80, :47.22 and 1:11.99 before Donna Veloce began to mount her challenge in the far turn.
With K P Dreamin going three wide for her bid, Bast and Donna Veloce turned for home with the same half-length differential they'd maintained since the start. Try as she might, Donna Veloce was unable to pass Bast in the lane. Bast was game all the way through the wire, finishing three quarters of a length ahead of Donna Veloce. K P Dreamin finished third, while Gingham was fourth.
Bred in Kentucky by BlackRidge Stables, Bast is out of the Arch mare Laffina. The filly commanded a final bid of $200,000 as a weanling at the Keeneland November sale, then returned to bring $500,000 as a yearling at Fasig-TIpton in Saratoga. Second on debut, Bast broke her maiden in the G1 Del Mar Debutante, then followed that with a win in the G1 Chandelier. Though she finished third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, Bast rebounded to win the Starlet for a third Grade 1 win in 2019. The filly boasts a record of three wins from five starts for earnings of over $730,000.
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