October 3, 2023

Bast ultimately best of Baffert trifecta in Santa Ynez

Bast and jockey Drayden Van Dyke win the Santa Ynez © BENOIT PHOTO

Bob Baffert figured to have Sunday’s $200,500 Santa Ynez (G2) cornered, and the Hall of Famer duly sent out the trifecta as 3-5 favorite Bast got the job done. The betting public also rightly discerned the chances of her stablemates, with 2-1 second choice Auberge beating 4-1 third pick Golden Principal.

On paper, Baoma Corp.’s Bast dwarfed her Santa Ynez rivals as the winner of the Del Mar Debutante (G1), Chandelier (G1), and Starlet (G1). Her third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) was also full of merit considering she succumbed to a pace war but hung tough.

The only potential question was whether the cutback from 1 1/16 miles to 7 furlongs would be a factor, especially against her sprint debut-winning stablemates. That thought might have crossed her fans’ minds as a workmanlike Bast needed that seventh furlong to assert her class.

Auberge, the slowest out of the gate, soon gathered speed on the rail to grab the lead. Golden Principal was just a head behind through fractions of :22.02 and :44.59. Bast was perched a length back in third on the outside, but Drayden Van Dyke had to get busy for her to keep up with the top two on the far turn.

Although Golden Principal appeared to be going the best of all as they swung for home, she couldn’t sustain her challenge. Auberge put her away in midstretch to win the pace battle. But Bast was about to win the war.

As Auberge’s momentum slowed, Bast kept churning the farther they went down the lane. The final furlong elapsed in :13.43, according to the chart, indicating the toll exacted by that pace. Bast outstayed Auberge in a 1 3/4-length decision accomplished in 1:23.42.

Picking up 10 more points toward the Kentucky Oaks (G1), Bast now has a total of 34, overtaking British Idiom’s 30 points to top the leaderboard. Auberge earned 4 points, and Golden Principal 2 points, in their stakes debut.

The rest weren’t seriously involved. Fourth-placer Orquidias Biz checked in another 9 1/4 lengths adrift to take home 1 point. Next came K P Dreamin and Lovely Lilia, while Paige Anne was withdrawn.

Bast’s scorecard now stands at 6-4-1-1, $852,200. Bred by BlackRidge Stables in Kentucky, the Uncle Mo filly sold for $200,000 as a Keeneland November weanling and appreciated to $500,000 as a yearling at Fasig-Tipton Saratoga. She is out of the Arch mare Laffina, who is a half-sister to Grade 2 scorer Mananan McLir and closely related to Grade 1 vixen Fault. With Arch also being the broodmare sire of Uncle Mo, Bast is inbred to him on a 3×2 pattern.

Quotes from Santa Anita

Winning jockey Drayden Van Dyke: “The outside post gives you the option of being able to read the pace. When we got near the quarter pole, the other two were going easy, so I had to get after her. She was shortening up out of a route, but she kicked it in.

“There was a concern, Bob said the horses were running a big race so I really had to get after her but she showed her class today. I’m very lucky to be in the position I’m in right now. I’m blessed, I am grateful.”

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert on his trifecta: “Bast looked like she was in trouble at the (five sixteenths pole)…I heard Frank (Mirahmadi) say she was coming under pressure and the other ones (Auberge and Golden Principal) were looking good.  She came out of the Breeders’ Cup well. She’s a picture of health and that’s why we ran her today.

“You hate to run three in a race like that but it’s a graded race and its $200,000. I want to give all my clients a chance at it. I’ve gone sort of easy on her for this race. Those are two really good fillies that she was chasing there, as you can tell by the way they were spread out. They showed up, they ran well so here we are.

“She was doing really well, she looks great and I just hate training them too long they could get hurt in the mornings. As long as they are doing well and you enter them, the more races you get into ’em it is better for them.

“Especially those other two, there was no race for them, so I think they are going to get a lot out of it. They’ll move way up from this. Bast, I can just freshen her up.”