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Arabian Knight gives Baffert a record seventh Pacific Classic (G1)
Sunday, September 3, 2023

Arabian Knight earned a free trip to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) and gave his trainer a record seventh victory in the $1 million Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar.

Saturday’s race is part of the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In Challenge Series, and earned Arabian Knight free pre-entry and entry fees for the Classic, which will be run in early November at Santa Anita Park.

Arabian Knight was facing older horses for the first time in what was just his fourth lifetime start in Saturday’s 1 ¼-mile contest. Arabian Knight broke sharply and led the field the first time under the wire. Piroli pressed Arabian Knight through six furlongs before giving way. Slow Down Andy moved past Arabian Knight just before entering the stretch, but Arabian Knight re-took the lead shortly after turning for home. He held off a late charge by Geaux Rocket Ride, one of two other 3-year-old in the race, to win by a neck in 2:03.19 on a fast track.

“Those two horses (Arabian Knight and Geaux Rocket Ride) are really good horses,” said Baffert. “The wire couldn't come soon enough. I know it was crazy to come back here and run him at a mile and a quarter but if you/'re going to get beat, I'd rather get beat in a Grade 1. I loved the way he digs and fought and he's going to get better.”

Arabian Knight is owned by Amr Zedan. In his three prior starts, he won his debut at Keeneland last November, the Southwest S. (G3) at Oaklawn Park, then most recently was third in the Haskell Inv. (G1). Saturday’s win upped his earnings to $1,244,275.

Baffert’s Pacific Classic victories date back to 1999, when General Challenge won. He won back-to-back runnings in 2009-10 with Richard’s Kid and most recently in 2020 with Maximum Security.

Baffert 2013