October 3, 2023

Bast repels Donna Veloce in Starlet

Bast defeating Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies runner-up Donna Veloce in the Starlet © BENOIT PHOTO

Saturday’s $300,000 Starlet (G1) shaped up as a clash of the placegetters from the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). So it proved, only with the order reversed, as Breeders’ Cup third Bast gained revenge on runner-up Donna Veloce at Los Alamitos. Thus she contributed to five straight wins on the card for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, including the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) with Thousand Words. Drayden Van Dyke was aboard three of them, highlighted by Bast.

Both daughters of Uncle Mo, Bast and Donna Veloce turned the Starlet into a virtual match race on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks. Bast, who succumbed in a torrid pace battle at Santa Anita, was more in her comfort zone this time. Baffert said that the Baoma Corp. colorbearer had been training better, and she performed accordingly to rack up her third Grade 1 victory.

The 2-1 second choice was pressed by 3-10 favorite Donna Veloce through fractions of :22.80, :47.22, and 1:11.99 on the good, sealed track, but showed no intention of letting her pass. Finding more down the lane, Bast drifted out marginally toward Donna Veloce before edging away by a half-length. By clocking 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.36, Bast earned 10 more Oaks points to bring her total up to 24, second only to Breeders’ Cup star British Idiom.

Donna Veloce tried her utmost before yielding grudgingly in second, adding 4 Oaks points to her tally of 12. There was a 12-length gap back to K P Dreamin, whose 2 points for third doubled her total to 4 points. Fourth-placer Gingham took home 1 point, and Roadrunner’s Honor trailed in the short field of five.

Bast advanced her record to 5-3-1-1, $732,200, with all three wins coming at the top level. She broke her maiden with the addition of blinkers in the Del Mar Debutante (G1), then scored a hard-fought decision in the September 27 Chandelier (G1) that apparently left its mark for a while.

“She was doing so much better for this race than she was before the (Breeders’ Cup),’’ said Baffert, who has now swept the Starlet and Los Alamitos Futurity three years in a row. “I think the race before took a lot out of her.

“She was training like she did at Del Mar. That day (in the Juvenile Fillies) was my fault. I told (jockey John Velazquez) to get her into the race early and she got involved with some fast fractions.

“She did well to hang on for third because that track was so deep and tiring. We knew when we got her on this dirt surface she would love it and she just bounced over it.

“Turning for home I was confident because she had been doing so well and her last work was so strong and she looked great in the paddock today.’’

Bred by BlackRidge Stables in Kentucky, Bast brought $200,000 as a Keeneland November weanling and commanded $500,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling. The bay is inbred to Arch 3×2, being out of an Arch mare as is the case with her sire Uncle Mo. Bast’s dam, Laffina, is a half-sister to Grade 2 scorer Mananan McLir and a close relative of Grade 1 vixen Fault. Also close up in the family is current juvenile South Bend, successful in the Street Sense S. two back and sixth in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2).