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McKinzie highlights Baffert's strong Breeders' Cup hand
Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Bob Baffert's quartet of contenders in this year's Nov. 1-2 Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita Park will contest four different races, two each on Friday and Saturday. 

Baffert's first starter comes in the Juvenile Fillies (G1) with Bast, a dual Grade 1 winner of the Del Mar Debutante and Chandelier S., the latter contest over the same track and distance as Friday's race. Bast drew post six in the nine-horse field and will be ridden by John Velazquez for the Baoma Corporation. Baffert won the Juvenile Fillies with Indian Blessing in 2007 and future champion Silverbulletday in 1998.

Baffert's other Friday starter is morning line favorite Eight Rings in the Juvenile (G1). Eight Rings won the American Pharoah S. (G1) by six lengths on Sept. 27 and drew post six in a field that has been reduced to eight with the scratch of Maxfield. Baffert won last year's Juvenile with Game Winner and has won the race four times overall.

On Saturday, Improbable will face a top-class field in the Dirt Mile (G1), a race Baffert has yet to win since its inception in 2007. Improbable, owned by WinStar Farm et al, won the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) last year and has never lost a race at a mile or less. He'll be ridden by Rafael Bejarano for the first time on Saturday.

Rounding out the quartet is McKinzie in the $6 million Classic, a race Baffert has three victories in, coming in 2014-16 with Bayern, American Pharoah, and Arrogate. McKinzie, who has not been worse than second in seven starts this year, is considered a Horse of the Year candidate should he win on Saturday. The 4-year-old will break from post 8 in the field of 11 and will also get a rider switch in the form of Joel Rosario. 

Baffert has a total of 15 Breeders' Cup winners to date, second-most all-time, behind fellow Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas.

Baffert 2013