BOB Baffert is the undisputed king of the Breeders’ Cup.
And the Hall of Fame trainer is in a bullish mood heading into the weekend at Santa Anita as he prepares to saddle three favourites.
Perhaps his biggest chance of the meeting is the exciting Eight Rings, who is 11-8f for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile with William Hill.
He won the Grade 1 American Pharoah Stakes by six lengths last time out and Baffert is looking forward to a showdown with 6-4 shot Dennis’ Moment.
Baffert told Sun Racing: “He’s doing really well, I’m really happy with the way he has trained up to this race.
“I’m feeling confident about him and that he can do it. He can be a little quirky at times and it is a very tough race.
“Dennis’ Moment is in there and he looks a superstar himself, but he’s doing great so that’s all you can ask for.”
In the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, Baffert’s Bast (3-1) is expected to take plenty of beating after a gutsy victory in the Chandelier Stakes over C&D.
Baffert said: “She’s doing really well. She won over two turns here last time.
“We weren’t sure how far she was going to go but she went there and did it, so that’s very encouraging.”
And Baffert hit back at those who have written off Classic jolly McKinzie (11-4) after his surprise defeat in the Awesome Again Stakes over 9f.
His trainer has no doubt he will stay the extra furlong of the $6 million feature.
He continued: “I feel really strong about him. A lot of people feel he won’t get the distance I’ve read a lot of articles saying he won’t get the trip. But that’s good because maybe we will get a good price!”
Roger Varian trains one of the big European hopes of the meeting with his Rockfel winner Daahyeh, a standout 9-2 chance for the Juvenile Fillies Turf with Hills.
The daughter of Bated Breath stretched her legs on the main dirt track at Santa Anita on Tuesday morning and had her chances boosted with a good draw in stall five.
Varian told Sun Racing: “She travelled over great and all the external signs are very positive. She didn’t drop much weight and she’s had an excellent appetite. She is bright-eyed and smart out on the track.
“This is the first morning I’ve seen her since she arrived and I couldn’t be more pleased with how she looks.
“She did a nice piece of work last Friday at home. She is a very fit filly, she ran not so long ago in the Rockfel and she has had a smooth time of things since then. We feel like her fitness it spot on, she won’t need to do too much before the race.
“We can’t complain with stall five, box one is often not ideal and on a two-turn mile you don’t want to be drawn out wide, so five is ideal.
“William Buick has plenty of Breeders’ Cup experience and that gate gives her good chance to get a good racing position and she will hopefully be there with every chance in the straight.”
Meanwhile, there was drama late in the morning as trainer Brendan Walsh revealed he had scratched leading Juvenile candidate Maxwell due to the colt being ‘off’ on his right front leg.