• The week’s top Beyer speed figure in North America
Santa Anita (Sept 26): Awesome Again Stakes G1 $300,000, 1m1f, dirt, 3yo+
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Drayden van Dyke
Owner: WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and SF Racing
Pedigree: 4yo ch c City Zip – Rare Event (A.P. Indy)
In completing a G1 hat-trick at the main expense of his labouring stablemate Maximum Security, Improbable shot to the head of ante-post betting on the Breeders’ Cu[ Classic.
A last-to-first victory in the Awesome Again – still more recognisable in its former guise as the Goodwood – also promoted the four-year-old into the Top 20 in the world rankings (+78pt, #15 from #35).
And guess what? A finishing time of 1m49.01s also meant Improbable produced last week’s highest Beyer speed figure – 108 – as he drew away for a 4½-length victory.
This was an undeniably impressive performance in the west coast’s principal Breeders’ Cup Classic trial. While the pace was solid and contested, it wasn’t stupidly fast, and Improbable’s stretch-running effort – a neat change of tactics, by the way – was not of the type that usually results in a big number.
Yet doubts remain with regard to the Classic. While Improbable seems a reformed character, he has given trouble at the start before – an issue that still worries connections – though the lack of pomp and circumstance at a behind-closed-doors Breeders’ Cup may well help him on that score.
Question marks also remain in some quarters about whether he is as effective over 1m2f. Mind you, he was going away at the finish of the Awesome Again, and he’s already won at the extra furlong in the G1 Hollywood Gold Cup.
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