HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, May 15, 2022 — His victory in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot last October stamped Baaeed as Europe’s top miler. Ever since, European fans have awaited his 2022 debut.
Not only were they not disappointed but his totally comprehensive victory in Saturday’s G1 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury began a march toward a certain legendary status, worthy enough to be mentioned in the same sentence as great Thoroughbreds of the past.
Seven straight victories, a resume that now includes the Lockinge to go with the Gr1 Queen Elizabeth II and Gr1 Prix du Moulin, six of them at disparate venues. His 8-2 furlong maiden score on debut at Leicester is his only start other than one mile.
Excited Europeans have been throwing the name of Frankel around, efforting to find a frame of reference. If that’s going too far–which, at this point, is–from what we saw Saturday morning it’s not that great a leap to join such elites of two French legends, female milers Miesque and Goldikova.
Baaeed was a daylight winner of the Lockinge and compared to last year’s late-season vidoes, Baaeed appears bigger, stronger. He beat an accomplished field of runners on the day and did so beneath a supremely confident Jim Crowley. The win was trainer William Haggas’ the first Lockinge victory.
The colt always appeared comfortable and was in a good rhythm throughout as he tracked the leader in fourth. With a tad more than a quarter-mile remaining, Crowley tipped him out into the daylight and still hadn’t moved his hands.
Shortly thereafter, Crowley began knuckling on the reins. Baaeed began to grind his way to the lead. But once Crowley asked in earnest, Baaeed responded with a turn of foot that quickly put the field to rest. Suddenly the margin at the post was a stylish 3-1/4 lengths, leaving Real World and the others behind.
Alas, the Europeans are not invincible. Charlie Appleby, who had quite the Breeders’ Cup last year, brought his Eclipse champion back to Belmont Park, hoping to add the Grade 1 Man o’ War to his win in the 2021 Jockey Club Derby.
But pace matters, as the Kentucky Derby colts learned last weekend, but pace is a double-edge. The lack of it, especially over a course slickened by overnight and afternoon precipitation, proved the difference. It allowed Trevor McCarthy to walk Highland Chief on the lead, giving trainer Graham Motion the kind of turf upset he’s noted for.
The ground and the pace did Yibir and runnerup Gufo no favors but otherwise had no apparent excuse. Yes, Yibir broke so slowly that momentarily it appeared he had dwelt, but Appleby said after the race that a slow break comes with the package and usually doesn’t matter. He learned otherwise yesterday.
WE THE PEOPLE AND FLAVIEN PRAT FORMED A MORE PERFECT UNION
I didn’t say that first; Maggie Wolfendale did, and she was so right. I recalled thinking that I was pleased Prat was coming east, making what already is America’s most talented jockey colony even deeper.
But it’s highly doubtful that any horseman, or horseplayer for that matter, believed he would have such a huge impact so soon. And that he has.
In the end, Prat’s tactics aboard We the People were brilliant, but the colt who took down the Peter Pan Stakes with such authority that it didn’t require any special handling whatsoever. He lost his Arkansas Derby before the race even started, washing out badly pre-race, then insured defeat by losing tons of ground.
Yesterday, the real son of Constitution showed up and it was no contest, a 10-1/4 length-no-contest in just over 1:48–commonly know as race-horse time.
Alas, Prat wasn’t done, and neither was Peter Brant and Chad Brown. In a partnership, Brant bought two-thirds of Rougir, who was sold for nearly $3,.4 million in Europe late last year. The entire purse for Saturday’s 1-1/16 miles G3 Beaugay was $150,000.
But her turn of foot was outstanding, troubled by neither ground loss or slow fractions, and beat all the dynamics by three going-away lengths.
The waters will get deeper and the purses a lot bigger. Next up, the G1 New York on the Belmont Stakes undercard. The longer trip will suit her better and now we know she will be up to the task.