News and STORIES
Baffert Loses Bast While Game Winner Returns
Author: Clint Goodman
Published: Friday February 21, 2020
Bob Baffert's barn has had some new developments within the past couple of days. The multiple grade 1 winner Bast has been forced to retire after suffering from a soft tissue injury, but the champion Game Winner is set to return. He worked for the first time Feb. 20 after being out for five months.
Charles and Susan Chu's Bast, a daughter of Uncle Mo, took three grade 1s last year. She also finished third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). According to Baffert, she was retired after soft tissue damage was found in her front ankle.
"A couple of days ago, we noticed a little filling. We thought she had hit it on something, but an ultrasound showed some soft tissue damage," Baffert said. "She was going to need four months off, so she was going to miss the Kentucky Oaks (G1). And with these things, they are not guaranteed they'll come back, so we made the decision to retire her."
Unknown Future for Bast
As for whether or not the Chus, who race as Baoma Corp., will breed or sell Bast, Baffert is unsure.
"I'm sure a lot of people want to buy her," he said. "She is so beautiful. You hate to see them go, but she did a lot."
Bloodstock agent Donato Lanni purchased Bast as a yearling in 2018 for $500,000 on behalf of the Chus out of Taylor Made Sales Agency's consignment at The Saratoga Sale, Fasig-Tipton's select yearling sale in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
The filly took second in her debut at Del Mar, and she went on to score an 8 3/4-length win in the Del Mar Debutante Stakes (G1). She also took the Chandelier Stakes (G1) and the Starlet Stakes (G1). She had a record of 3-1-1 during her juvenile season, with earnings at $732,200.
Bast kicked off her sophomore campaign on Jan. 5 by taking the Santa Ynez Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park by 1 3/4 lengths.
She was bred in Kentucky by BlackRidge Stables and is out of the Arch mare Laffina, a half-sister to grade 1-placed and grade 2 winner Mananan McLir (Royal Academy) and black-type winners Big Sur (Malibu moon) and Charming N Lovable (Horse Chestnut).
Mary and Gary West's Game Winner, who is a three-time grade 1 winner and the 2018 champion 2-year-old colt, returned to the work tab Feb. 20 at Santa Anita. He breezed three furlongs in :36 3/5.
"He looks great," Baffert said. "You know, last year, he was always trying to catch up. Now that he's had time off, I see a big campaign with him this summer. He is a bigger, stronger horse."
According to Baffert, the 4-year-old son of Candy Ride is not being prepared for a specific race, but he will likely make his 2020 debut in May.
For his 2019 season, Game Winner finished second in one division of the Rebel Stakes (G2), losing by a nose to Omaha Beach. He also lost by a half-length to Roadster in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) and finished fifth in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1).
After that, he took the Los Alamitos Derby (G3) in July, which brought him to five wins in eight starts with earnings of $2,027,500.
The grade 1 winner Improbable also worked Feb. 20 at Santa Anita, and he went five furlongs in 1:01 4/5. Baffert has said that no race has been decided on for the 4-year-old son of City Zip.
"He worked great, too, and is coming around quickly," he said.
Improbable has been working since he went three furlongs in :36 4/5 on Feb. 2. Since then, the colt has worked five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 Feb. 8 and 1:00 2/5 Feb. 14.
Improbable scored the Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity (G1) and Street Sense Stakes at 2. At 3, he finished second in the other division of the Rebel Stakes by a neck to Long Range Toddy, and he came in second behind Omaha Beach by a length in the Arkansas Derby (G1).
He scored the listed Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar before going unplaced in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) and Big Ass Fans Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1).