Baffert’s Classic team coming together

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Authentic Kentucky Derby Winner
Sep 5, 2020; Louisville, Kentucky, USA; Jockey John Velazquez pours water on Authentic (18) after winning the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Bob Baffert is putting together a trio of contenders to represent him in next month’s Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland.

The Hall of Fame trainer won the Classic three times on the spin with Bayern, American Pharoah and Arrogate from 2014-2016, ensuring none of his peers can match his tally.

He’s set to unleash Kentucky Derby winner Authentic – the colt since having finished a gallant second to filly Swiss Skydiver in the Preakness Stakes – as well as Maximum Security and Improbable in the November 7th Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Maximum Security was moved from Jason Servis to Baffert’s stable earlier this year. He has won ten of 13 careers starts, including two of his three for the new trainer.

He took out the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap and the Grade 1 TVG Pacific Classic Stakes on his first two starts before finishing second to stablemate Improbable in the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes last month.

Baffert now feels maybe that race was asking too much of him.

“I ran Maximum Security back too soon (in the Awesome Again), and he was struggling with the track that day, but it’s better now,” he said

“Our thought was to run him back quick (in the Awesome Again) and then give him six weeks off before the (Breeders’ Cup Classic) just like Improbable. The six weeks will be really good for him.”

Baffert expects to have Maximum Security, Improbable and Authentic arrive in Kentucky on November 3rd ahead of the Breeders’ Cup meeting at Keeneland later that week.

Maximum Security did a five-furlong breeze under exercise rider Juan Ochoa at Santa Anita on Sunday morning and Baffert was impressed. He suggests there’s nothing to split his trio of Classic hopefuls at this point.

“I think that was probably his best work since I’ve had him,” Baffert added. “He was really, really sharp. He did it on his own very willingly.

“All three of them are doing great,” Baffert said about his Classic trio. “My rider who works them cannot separate them.”

Multiple Grade 1-winning three-year-old filly Gamine was also part of the work team at Santa Anita. She posted the fourth-fastest of 38 works at the five-furlong distance.

The daughter of Into Mischief is being aimed at the seven-furlong Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Keeneland, which is set to be her first start since finishing third in the Kentucky Oaks in early September.

The Filly & Mare Sprint is what Gamine wants right now, though Baffert sees her extending out in time.

“She ran in the super fog and I only saw the last 40 yards, but she’s doing really well,” Baffert said. “One turn is her game right now, but as she develops later on we’ll get the two turns.”

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