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Mastery Leads Baffert Derby Parade into 2017

By Casey Laughter

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert is no stranger to the finer horses in life. He has conditioned a Triple Crown winner and had some of the best horses throughout recent history. While Ameri

Mastery and Mike Smith work at Santa Anita 11/30/16.

Mastery and Mike Smith work at Santa Anita 11/30/16.

can Pharoah has come and gone, Baffert is looking onward to 2017 to regain Kentucky Derby (GI) glory and while the colts he is pointing toward Louisville are only 2-year-olds, they are already showing a tremendous amount of promise.

Baffert has the undefeated Candy Ride colt, named Mastery, who is 2-for-2 so far in his career. He broke his maiden first time out at Santa Anita going six furlongs on the main track and did so quite easily, so Baffert sent him to Del Mar to contest the Bob Hope Stakes (GIII) against some other nice California-based colts, including multiple stakes winner California Diamond. Mastery went out to lope on an easy lead and when jockey Mike Smith asked him for just a bit more run he pulled away to win by 1 1/4 length.

“It was a very professional effort for second out,” Baffert said. “He didn’t really extend himself, and it was just easy for him.”

Mastery is being pointed toward the CashCall Futurity (GI) at Los Alamitos on Dec. 10, which Baffert has won the past two years with Dortmund Mor Spirit. Baffert has won the race a total of eight times, which is the stakes record. The race will be the first two-turn effort for Mastery, who will need to go 1 1/16 miles effectively to be able to move on toward the Kentucky Derby.

“Right now, we are just taking it one step at a time,” Baffert said. “They can all get it (two-turns), (it) just depends on how fast he (Mastery) goes. Right now, we are feeling pretty confident.”

As for physique and pedigree, Mastery is a late foal, born May 3, 2014.

“He is a big, tall, rangy looking horse,” Baffert explained. “He looks a lot like Candy Ride, too.”

Grade 1 winner Candy Ride has sired top horses such as Shared Belief, Gun Runner, Sidney’s Candy and Twirling Candy. The mare who produced Mastery is named Steady Course and he is so far her only graded stakes winner, but she is represented by a minor stakes winner in Clear Sailing (by Empire Maker). As a racehorse, Steady Course won only two of her seven starts, finished second three of those times. She finished 4th in her final career start, the Fair Grounds Oaks (GII).

Mastery’s damsire, Old Trieste, was euthanized at only age eight, but the son of A.P. Indy has turned into a desirable influence in modern pedigrees.

Mastery was bred by Arthur Hancock’s Stone Farm, which has produced multiple top race horses, including Sunday Silence, Menifee, Risen Star and Fusaichi Pegasus just to name a few.

Baffert also mentioned that Del Mar Futurity (GI) winner Klimt came out of the Breeders’ Cup in good order, but was disappointed in his lackluster eighth-place performance.

“He didn’t train as well over the Santa Anita surface, so we will need to regroup and freshen him up a bit,” Baffert said.

Klimt, Bejarano and Baffert 10/19/16

Klimt, Bejarano and Baffert 10/19/16

Klimt is by Quality Road and out of a Dixie Union mare. The colt won both the Best Pal Stakes (GII) and the Del Mar Futurity before finishing second in the FrontRunner Stakes (GI).

Finally, Baffert has an impressive looking maiden winner in Beach Bum. The Arch colt broke his maiden at first asking going seven furlongs on the Santa Anita main track. The colt is half to minor stakes winner Cat’s Claw (by Dynaformer).

“He looked strong in his first outing,” Baffert said.