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McKinzie takes Sham S. (G3) with ease
Sunday, January 7, 2018
McKinzie takes Sham S. (G3) with ease
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McKinzie towered over the field in Saturday's $100,000 Sham S. (G3) at Santa Anita Park, coming away a 3 1/2-length winner in what is the first prep race in southern California on the 2018 Triple Crown Trail.

McKinzie, who had won the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) last month via disqualification in a very tight finish, got a very clean trip in the one-mile Sham. Jockey Mike Smith kept in the three-path most of the time, and never had to ask his mount as he surged to the lead from fourth on the final turn.

The winner never saw the whip while finishing the mile in 1:36.58, earning Beyer Speed Figure of 97.

Trained by Baffert for long-time clients Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman, McKinzie has won all three of his starts and earned $270,000. He also picked up another 10 points, for a total of 20, on the Road to the Kentucky Derby (G1) Challenge series.

β€œHe came back to run like we hoped,” Baffert said. β€œI was happy. Everything wents mooth; that's what you want. I don't have to work him that much before the next one. I don't know [which race it will be]. It could be the San Felipe (G2, Mar. 10). We'll try and get two (more races prior to the Kentucky Derby) into him. I think he showed more maturity today.”

Baffert has now won a record five running of the Sham, including the inaugural in 2001 with Wild and Wise. 

Baffert 2013