Best Beyer: Medina Spirit and Art Collector

• The week’s highest Beyer speed figures in North America

Horse Racing Medina Spirit John Velazquez Bob Baffert
Bob Baffert celebrates with John Velazquez after Medina Spirit’s win in Awesome Again at Santa Anita. Photo: Benoit

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)
Time: 1m49.67s

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 ▼

Baby Yoda 3g (Bill Mott) Saratoga, Sept 4: allowance
Flightline 3c (John Sadler) Del Mar Sept 5: allowance

Knicks Go 5h (Brad Cox) Prairie Meadows, July 2: Cornhusker G3

Hot Rod Charlie 3c (Doug O’Neill) Parx, Sept 25: Penn Derby G1
Knicks Go 5h (Brad Cox) Saratoga, Aug 7: Whitney G1

Jackie’s Warrior 3c (Steve Asmussen) Parx, Sept 25: Gallant Bob G2
Walton Street 7g (Charlie Appleby) Woodbine, Sept 18: Canadian Intl G1

Essential Quality 3c (Brad Cox) Belmont Park, June 5: Belmont G1
Mischevious Alex 4c (Saffie Joseph) Aqueduct, April 3: Carter G1

Country Grammer 4c (Bob Baffert) Santa Anita, April 17: Californian G2 (2nd)
Hot Rod Charlie 3c (Doug O’Neill) Belmont Park, June 5: Belmont G1
Knicks Go 5h (Brad Cox) Gulfstream Park, Jan 23: Pegasus G1
Mystic Guide 4c (Mike Stidham) Oaklawn Park, Feb 27: Razorback G3
Royal Ship 5g (Richard Mandella) Santa Anita, April 17: Californian G2

Art Collector 4c (Bill Mott): Belmont, Oct 2: Woodward G1
Beau Liam 3c (Steve Asmussen): Saratoga, Aug 29: allowance
Essential Quality 3c (Brad Cox): Saratoga, Aug 28: Travers G1
Jackie’s Warrior 3c (Steve Asmussen): Saratoga, Aug 28: Jerkens Memorial G1
Life Is Good 3c (Bob Baffert) Santa Anita, March 6: San Felipe G2
Medina Spirit 3c (Bob Baffert) Santa Anita, Oct 2: Awesome Again G1
Midnight Bourbon 3c (Steve Asmussen) Saratoga, Aug 28: Travers G1 (2nd)
Midnight Bourbon 3c (Steve Asmussen) Parx, Sept 25: Penn Derby G1 (2nd)

Beau Liam 3c (Steve Asmussen) Saratoga, July 17: allowance
Cezanne 4c (Bob Baffert) Santa Anita, April 18: Kona Gold G3
Country Grammer 4c (Bob Baffert) Santa Anita, May 31: Hollywood GC G1
Domestic Spending 4g (Chad Brown) Belmont Park, June 5: Manhattan G1
Life Is Good 3c (Bob Baffert) Saratoga, Aug 28: Jerkens Memorial G1 (2nd)
Raging Bull 6h (Chad Brown) Keeneland, April 9: Maker’s Mark Mile G1
Witsel 3c (Chad Brown) Saratoga, July 17: allowance (2nd)

Top 2yo Beyers: 98 Corniche (Santa Anita, Sept 4), 93 Big City Lights (Santa Anita, May 2), Jack Christopher (Belmont, Oct 2), 92 Concept (Remington, Sept 26), Echo Zulu (Saratoga, July 15), Jack Christopher (Saratoga, Aug 28), My Prankster (Saratoga, Aug 21), Octane (Gulfstream, Sept 25)

Until end Oct 3. Turf Beyers in italics

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)
Time: 1m49.22s

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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