Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert appears to have his opponents surrounded in Sunday’s $200,000 Santa Ynez Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita. Baffert conditions three of the seven entrants in the seven-furlong Road to the Kentucky Oaks qualifier, including clear favorite #7 Bast.
Sold for $500,000 as a yearling, Bast was among the most accomplished 2-year-old fillies of 2019. The daughter of Uncle Mo used her tactical speed to secure victories in the Del Mar Debutante (G1), Chandelier Stakes (G1), and Starlet Stakes (G1). A third-place finish over a tiring track in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) will likely cost her the division championship, but she was hardly disgraced losing by two lengths after pressing a fast pace.
Bast’s most dominant victory came in the seven-furlong Del Mar Debutante, which she won by 8 3/4 lengths with a rally from just off the pace, so the cutback in distance for the Santa Ynez should be right up her alley. She’s come back with sharp workouts since the Starlet and has drawn perfectly in post 7, affording her the opportunity to work out a clean, unencumbered trip. In a race filled with speed horses, Bast’s proven ability to settle just behind the leaders and come running late is a valuable commodity.
Arguably, the only fillies Bast must fear are her stablemates #1 Auberge and #2 Golden Principal. Both were impressive debut winners last year, and Auberge was particularly eye-catching while winning a 6-furlong dash at Santa Anita by 7 3/4 lengths. Her 93 Brisnet Speed rating isn’t far off Bast’s career-best 96, and a bullet half-mile workout on December 29 suggests Auberge is ready to flash some serious speed while starting from the rail.
If any filly can break up the Baffert juggernaut, it’s #5 K P Dreamin. While this daughter of Union Rags hasn’t come close to beating Bast in three matchups, she did round out the trifecta in the Chandelier and Starlet. A late-running filly, K P Dreamin tends to rally into contention and then flatten out, so the cutback to seven furlongs should sharpen her finishing kick. With a fast pace to set up her rally, K P Dreamin can come running late to grab a spot in the trifecta.
Let’s bet Bast and Auberge on top in the trifecta while adding Golden Principal and K P Dreamin underneath. To balance the prospective payoffs, we’ll spend more on the combination with Bast on top, since it figures to be the lower-paying combination:
- $9 trifecta: 7 with 1 with 2,5 ($18)
- $6 trifecta: 1 with 7 with 2,5 ($12)