TRAINER Bob Baffert is loading up on bullets to take on Gun Runner in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
He put another in the chamber on Saturday when Mubtaahij won the Grade 1, $300,690 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita, giving him at least four potential starters in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 4 at Del Mar.
Baffert also has Arrogate, Collected, and West Coast pointing for the Classic, and Mubtaahij earned a free roll in the race through the Win and You’re In program. Baffert also trains Cupid, who was fourth in the Awesome Again, beaten two lengths.
Baffert had fancied the former Dubai star to run a big race. And run he did. The 3-1 second favourite took a slight lead from a game Midnight Storm at the top of the stretch and won the heavily contested Grade 1 race by 1½ lengths.
“He has the class. He’s always been a really good horse,” Baffert said. “He needed this. He got a little tired at the end.”
Mubtaahij’s win highlighted a Saturday of five Grade 1 races at Santa Anita in front of a 16,900 crowd.
Mubtaahij was a €450 000 purchase for Jehan Malherbe’s Form Bloodstock at the Arqana Sale in France in August 2013.
Photo: Benoit Photo.