Klimt's commanding 2 3/4-length victory in Saturday's $200,000 Best Pal S. (G2) set the Kaleem Shah colt up for a shot at the Sept. 5 Del Mar Futurity (G1), a race Bob Baffert already has won a record 12 times.
Baffert now has a record eight winners in the Best Pal, with four of them – Worldly Manner, Flame Thrower, Officer and Lookin At Lucky – going on to win the Futurity.
The 6 1/2-furlong Best Pal set up as a two-horse race, with Big League setting the pace and Klimt pursuing just off his flank on the outside. The two were on even terms with a quarter-mile to run, and after going side-by-side for a furlong, Klimt forged to the front and won going away in 1:16.11. on a fast main track.
“I was disappointed (a fourth in his first start) and thought that maybe he’s just a grass horse,” said Baffert. But he came back, won his next one (July 10 maiden by 5 ¼ at Santa Anita), and he’s worked really well here. He’s always shown that he’s a horse that’s going to go farther. It was a good race, they didn’t go too fast. The kind of race you want to see. The Futurity is next. That’s the plan.”