Bob Baffert lost one of his best chances for a Breeders’ Cup victory Sunday when he told the Daily Racing Form he will not pre-enter Indian Blessing today in the $1 million Filly and Mare Sprint, a race she finished second in last year behind Ventura.
Baffert is not happy with the way Indian Blessing, a 4-year-old Indian Charlie filly, has been handling Santa Anita’s synthetic Pro-Ride surface. She worked six furlongs over the track in 1:12.80 Sunday morning, prompting Baffert’s decision.
“I think I’m going to pass,” he told the Daily Racing Form. “She just doesn’t like the track. What can you do? She looks good. It’s frustrating. I’m not going to pre-enter because I don’t want the temptation to change my mind.”
Indian Blessing, who has won 10 of 16 starts for earnings of $2.9 million, won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Monmouth Park in 2007, leading to an Eclipse Award as top 2-year-old filly that year. She was voted top female sprinter in 2008.
Scheduled to be bred next year, Baffert said he did not know if Indian Blessing would race again in 2009.
Baffert has never been a supporter of artificial tracks, speaking out in support of the new trainers group called California Horsemen for Change recently. One of the new group’s main beefs with management is synthetic race tracks.
Third in Breeders’ Cup victories with seven, trailing only D. Wayne Lukas (18) and Shug McGaughey (nine), Baffert could still enjoy a big Breeders’ Cup weekend despite Indian Blessing’s defection. His top hopefuls appear to be Lookin at Lucky in the Juvenile, Always a Princess in the Juvenile fillies, Zensational in the Sprint, and Richard’s Kid in the Classic.
Baffert could tie Lukas’ record of winning the same Breeders’ Cup race three years running if Zensational wins the Sprint. He saddled Midnight Lute for victories in the race the past two years.
Lukas saddled the winner of the Juvenile three consecutive years, beginning with Capote in 1986 and following up with Success Express and Is It True the following two years.