Sunday, October 04, 2009
LOOKIN AT LUCKY STILL PERFECT, TAKES GR. I NORFOLK, BLIND LUCK EASY WINNER OF GR. I OAK LEAF
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) _ Bob Baffert is looking loaded for the Breeders' Cup.
The Hall of Fame trainer has a pair of 2-year-olds who showed promise in their Grade 1 races at Santa Anita on Sunday.
Lookin at Lucky won the $300,000 Norfolk Stakes for 2-year-old colts by 1¾ lengths, while Always a Princess finished second in the $300,000 Oak Leaf Stakes for 2-year-old fillies.
"He's the best 2-year-old I've had in the last five years," Baffert said. "He's got something different than the other ones have ever had and it's exciting."
Blind Luck overtook Always a Princess in the final sixteenth to earn an automatic berth in the $2 million BC Juvenile Fillies on Nov. 6.
Under Garrett Gomez, Lookin at Lucky ran 1 1-16 miles in 1:43.11 and paid $3.60, $2.60 and $2.40 as the 4-5 favorite.
"At the three-eighths, I couldn't tell if he was running," Baffert said. "All of a sudden he pushed the button and took off. I'm becoming a big fan of his watching him run."
Pulsion returned $6.80 and $4, while Gallant Gent was another half-length back in third and paid $8.40 to show. Jung Man Scott and John Scott finished in a deadheat for fourth in the 11-horse field.
Lookin at Lucky is co-owned by Mike Pegram, Baffert's longtime friend and client. They also teamed up to win the fifth race Sunday.
"We're Lookin at Lucky," Pegram said. "Now we got to stay lucky."
It was Baffert's fifth Norfolk win in the last 13 years. Last year, Gomez rode Midshipman to a second-place finish for the trainer and then went on to win the $2 million BC Juvenile.
Lookin at Lucky was running longer than seven furlongs for the first time. Gomez had him off the early pace in fourth before making their move.
"He made the lead turning for home and when he did, he threw his ears up and kind of waited on that horse inside of him," Gomez said. "When I got after him though, he went on with it and finished up real game. How good is he? Well, he's 4-for-4 and I guess he'll tell us how good he is."
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who rode Pulsion, hailed Lookin at Lucky.
"Forget about the winner being the best 2-year-old on the West Coast," he said. "I think the best 2-year-old in the country won the race, and we weren't far off of him."
In the Oak Leaf, Blind Luck and Tyler Baze covered 1 1-16 miles on the synthetic Pro-Ride surface in 1:43.19 to win by 2½ lengths. She paid $9, $4.60 and $3.60 at 7-2 odds.
"She was a little keen at the break and it took me a moment to get her to settle," Baze said. "Things got a little tight around the first turn, but besides that, we had a clean trip. Turning for home, the seas parted and she ran great to the wire."
Always a Princess returned $4.60 and $4 as the 3-1 wagering favorite. Bickersons paid $11.40 to show in her first race on a synthetic surface. It Tiz was fourth in the 11-horse field.
Baffert said he was looking for Always a Princess to hit the board to get into the Breeders' Cup.
"She got a little tired at the end, but she did all the running," he said. "This will set her up perfect for the Breeders' Cup."
Always a Princess led all the way along the rail under Gomez until getting beat late.
"I liked the way she did everything," he said. "She fought herself back into second after being all the way back to third, and she galloped out nicely. Hopefully, this will set her up to end up in the winner's circle next time."
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