• The week’s highest Beyer speed figures in North America
On a major weekend of Breeders’ Cup prep races, a couple of Classic contenders on opposite sides of the country were tied at the top of the Beyer charts …
107 Medina Spirit
Santa Anita (Oct 2): Awesome Again Stakes G1 $300,000, 1m1f, dirt 3yo+
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: John Velazquez
Owner: Zedan Racing Stables Inc.
Pedigree: 3 b/br c Protonico – Mongolian Changa (Brilliant Speed)
Breeders’ Cup officials are still debating whether Bob Baffert will be allowed to make any entries at this year’s event at Del Mar on November 5-6, while Medina Spirit’s Kentucky Derby victory is hanging by a thread as the legal issues play out following his positive drugs test.
There can be few arguments about Saturday’s victory at Santa Anita in the Awesome Again, where Medina Spirit led all the way at cruise control before pulling away to beat Stilleto Boy by five lengths for a straightforward success in California’s foremost Breeders’ Cup Classic prep.
Sent off 13-10 favourite, the son of Protonico barely broke sweat in this ‘Win and You’re In’ contest, recording a career-best 107 BSF in the process. “That was impressive,” said Baffert.
“He didn’t even get tired … pretty awesome. He handled it well; the further the better. He showed up. He loves it here and at Del Mar.”
Medina Spirit is now on offer at anything between 7-1 and 10-1 with British bookmakers for the Classic.
Best Beyers of 2021 ▼
107 Art Collector
Belmont Park (Oct 2): Woodward Stakes G1 $500,000, 1m1f, dirt 3yo+
Trainer: Bill Mott
Jockey: Luis Saez
Owner: Bruce Lunsford
Pedigree: 4 bc Bernardini – Distorted Legacy (Distorted Humor)
Art Collector gatecrashed the Breeders’ Cup Classic scene when he made all to beat a decent field in the Woodward, switched back to Belmont this year from Saratoga after trading places with the Jockey Club Gold Cup.
Sent straight to the front by Luis Saez, Art Collector was driven out to withstand the late rallies of Godolphin’s Maxfield and Dr. Post, eventually scoring by a length and a half.
Winner of the Blue Grass Stakes last year for former trainer Tom Drury, the son of Preakness Stakes winner Bernardini was completing a hat-trick since joining Mott earlier this summer, this G1 breakthrough having been preceded by similar front-running efforts in a stakes race at Saratoga and the G2 Charles Town Classic.
“I would say he beat the best group of horses that he’s beaten so far,” Mott said. “They were the most established group. You knew it was a solid bunch.”
With a BSF of 107 under his belt, he is getting good at the right time for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, though doubtless he will still be a relative outsider at Del Mar.
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