Concert Tour wins Rebel Stakes for Bob Baffert

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — Concert Tour won the $1 million Rebel Stakes by 4 1/4 lengths, giving Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert yet another candidate in pursuit of his seventh Kentucky Derby victory.

Ridden by Joel Rosario, Concert Tour ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43 to remain undefeated in three career races. He earned 50 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby, and is now ranked fourth among the top 20 possible starters for the May 1 race.

“That was nice, impressive,” Baffert said. “This is a really top horse. I was going to be disappointed if he didn’t do what he did today.”

Baffert earned his eighth win in the Rebel at Oaklawn Park.

Concert Tour paid $5.40, $3.80 and $3.40 as the 3-2 second choice. He has career earnings of $756,600 for owners Gary and Mary West. Their horse, Maximum Security, crossed the finish line first in the 2019 Kentucky Derby only to be disqualified.

Hozier, also trained by Baffert, closed from nearly last place to finish second. Big Lake was third. Caddo River, the 6-5 favorite, was fourth.

At Baffert’s base in Southern California, Triple Tap made his debut with a 4 1/4-length victory in a $61,000 race at Santa Anita. The 3-year-old colt is a half-brother to 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, who was trained by Baffert.

Sent off at 1-5 odds, Triple Tap ran seven furlongs in 1:23.12 under Flavien Prat. Baffert was non-committal about future plans for Triple Tap.

“He won nice, it looks like he can go two turns easily, I just like what I saw,” the trainer said. “We don’t want to rush him.”

369 horses nominated to compete in Triple Crown series

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A total of 369 3-year-olds were made eligible to compete in this year’s Triple Crown series during the early nomination period.

Each of the horses was nominated through a $600 payment to compete in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont stakes. The Triple Crown opens May 6 with the Derby.

The number of nominated horses increased by 57 from last year’s total of 312. They include a record 37 horses based in Japan.

Among the notable horses is Forte, last year’s 2-year-old champion trained by Todd Pletcher.

Also among the predominantly male horses nominated was a filly named Hoosier Philly.

Brad Cox led all trainers with 38 horses nominated to the series. Pletcher was second with 36 horses, followed by Steve Asmussen and Ken McPeek with 13 each. Chad Brown and Hideyuki Mori had 12 each.

Others nominated include Arabian Knight, Cave Rock and Newgate, all trained by Bob Baffert. He is currently banned by Churchill Downs Inc. through this year’s Derby, although Baffert is challenging his two-year punishment in federal court.

For the Derby, horses under the care of any suspended trainer may be transferred to another trainer and become eligible to earn Derby qualifying points as long as the transfer is done by Feb. 28.

Last year, Baffert transferred two horses to another trainer and both ran in the Derby, although neither was highly placed.

Horses that were not nominated to the Triple Crown series by the early deadline of Jan. 28 can make a late payment of $6,000 through March 27 to become eligible.

Newgate wins Robert B. Lewis Stakes; Baffert runs 1-2-3-4


ARCADIA, Calif. — Newgate won the $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes by a neck, with Bob Baffert as the trainer of all four horses in the Kentucky Derby prep race at Santa Anita.

Ridden by Frankie Dettori, Newgate ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.11 and paid $4 and $2.60 as the even-money favorite. There was no show wagering because of the field size.

Hard to Figure returned $5.20 at 12-1 odds. Worcester was another 1 3/4 lengths back in third. Arabian Lion was fourth.

“So much improvement in all these horses,” Baffert said. “I was actually nervous before the race, worried that something weird might happen, but I can relax now.”

The Lewis was a Kentucky Derby prep race, but no points were awarded because Baffert has been banned for two years by Churchill Downs Inc. The Hall of Fame trainer was in Louisville to testify in federal court as he seeks a temporary injunction to end the suspension, which runs through the end of the upcoming spring meet. It was meted out following a failed drug test by Medina Spirit after the colt finished first in the 2021 Kentucky Derby.

Newgate earned his first graded stakes victory. The colt was second, beaten by a neck in the Sham Stakes last month in his previous start.

“Frankie Dettori has been teaching him how to just sit back, relax and come with a punch and that’s what he did today,” Baffert said.

The victory, worth $120,000, increased Newgate’s career earnings to $241,975, with two wins in six starts.