Du Jour Rides The Rail To Give Bafferts American Turf Victory

Owned in partnership by his wife, Jill Baffert, trainer Bob Baffert saddled the winner of Saturday’s Grade 2 American Turf Stakes with 5-1 chance Du Jour. The 3-year-old son of Temple City stepped up to earn his first graded stakes win on Kentucky Derby day, riding the rail under Flavien Prat to hit the lead at the sixteenth pole and pulling away to win by 1 1/2 lengths on the wire. Du Jour, also owned by Debbie Lanni, wife of bloodstock agent Donato Lanni, ran 1 1/16 miles over Churchill Downs’ firm turf course in 1:42.49.

Baffert told NBC that Donato Lanni had called him about the colt at the 2020 OBS April sale, telling him the son of Bernardini mare Guiltless was worth purchasing. Sold for $280,000 as a 2-year-old, Du Jour took three starts to break his maiden but hasn’t lost since, racking up three wins in a row, including the American Turf.

“These turf horses are easier to train,” Baffert quipped. “You don’t have to train them very hard. We tried to make a dirt horse out of him and he wasn’t that good. Mike Smith rode him and said I think he likes the dirt. I’m really excited about it. And I’m just so happy for Jill. She has to deal with me as a trainer, and all the ups and downs. For that horse to win today, and to listen to her excitement, now she has something that’s hers.”

Overall, the colt’s record now stands at 3-1-1 from five starts for earnings of $375,220. Du Jour was bred in Kentucky by Woods Edge Farm, and was originally a $19,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland September sale.

It is the second victory in the race for Baffert who won in 2003 with Senor Swinger.

Excellent Timing jumped well from the gates and immediately went for the lead, pulling away by several lengths through a first quarter in :22.86. He slowed down to mark the half in :47.31, allowing Next, Winfromwithin, and Dyn O Mite to close the gap on that frontrunner. Du Jour was just behind those in fifth early, a couple paths off the hedge.

Rounding the far turn, Du Jour had to wait for racing room while other rivals chose the overland route on the far outside. Winfromwithin had taken over the lead and had a slight advantage in the stretch, but Prat finally saw a hole at the rail and sent Du Jour on through.

Prat shifted Du Jour outside Winfromwithin at the eighth pole and was able to run that rival down, then hold off a late charge from late-running Lucky Charge. At the wire, Du Jour was 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Lucky Charge, while Winfromwithin held third. Hidden Enemy checked in fourth, followed by Palazzi, Royal Prince, Chess’s Dream, Annex, Scarlett Sky, Holy Vow, Next, Dyn O Mite, Barrister Tom and Excellent Timing.

“The key was getting him to relax down inside,” Prat said. “I actually sent him quite a bit out of the gate and then it’s always a question of if they can come back to you after that. It felt like they were going a good clip up front and that helped him to relax too. He traveled well and when I asked him to split horses, he did it nicely.”

The post Du Jour Rides The Rail To Give Bafferts American Turf Victory appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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