‘I’m Glad To Be Back’: Baffert Wins Los Alamitos Derby With High Connection

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert made a triumphant return to Los Alamitos on Saturday, winning both of the races in which he had starters, including the $125,000 Los Alamitos Derby with High Connection.

Six days after his recent 90-day suspension for a medication violation ended, Baffert won a maiden contest with heavily favored Rhetoric two hours before High Connection disposed of even-money favorite Slow Down Andy and three other 3-year-olds in the Derby.

The win in the race was the fifth in a row for Baffert and his seventh since daytime Thoroughbred racing returned to Los Alamitos in 2014.

Ridden by Juan Hernandez, who also aboard Rhetoric, High Connection took it to Slow Down Andy, who had upset the Baffert-trained Messier in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) the last time he raced at Los Alamitos, and ultimately got the best of that one inside the final eighth of a mile, winning by 1 ¾ lengths.

Owned by Prince Sultan Bin Mishal Al Saud, the Connect colt out of the Forest Camp mare Forest Legend completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.98. Now 2-for-4, High Connection has banked $149,000. He returned $5.40.

Slow Down Andy, who was trying to become the first horse to complete a Los Alamitos Futurity and Los Alamitos Derby double, wound up four lengths clear of 19-1 shot – and stablemate – Win the Day.

Doppelganger, Baffert’s other entrant and 3-1 third choice, and Got Thunder completed the order of finish.

“I’m glad to be back and what a way to comeback,” said Baffert. “I love this place. The first time I came to Los Alamitos was when I was 14. Quarter horses were my life and I knew if I could make it at Los Alamitos I knew this was it.

“(High Connection) kind of fell back after he broke his maiden (by 10 lengths March 26) and we weren’t really sure how far he wanted to go. The first two horses I worked when I came back where these two and they worked really well.

“Doppelganger works so well in the morning and I don’t know why he doesn’t show more in the afternoon. I could tell in the paddock High Connection was ready and Juan said he really brought his A game today. He needed it because Slow Down Andy was relentless.”

The victory completed a sweep of the Los Angeles County Fair meet stakes for Hernandez. He won the Bertrando June 25 with Desmond Doss and the Grade 2 Great Lady M. last Monday with Becca Taylor prior to Saturday.

“Bob told me to keep him close because he can get a little lazy,” said Hernandez. “He was sharp in the post parade, came out running and very comfortable all the way.”

The post ‘I’m Glad To Be Back’: Baffert Wins Los Alamitos Derby With High Connection appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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