ARCADIA, CA – Baoma Corporation’s Bast gave Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez his record 661st graded stakes score when the juvenile filly outgamed a very tough Comical in Friday’s $300,000 Chandelier Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park.
The Chandelier is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Bast receiving an automatic berth in the Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita Park this November.
Breaking from post 4 under Velazquez as the 1/5 favorite, Bast entered the clubhouse turn running just off of early leader Comical. Jockey Abel Cedillo was able to slow the pace down, piloting Comical through opening fractions of :24.92 and :49.54 while Bast and Been Studying Her kept close watch.
Bast sidled up alongside Comical as they hit the 1/4 pole, and at the top of the stretch, the two were head-and-head while leaving the rest of the field behind. The bettors’ choice had to work hard to stick her head in front of the stubborn pacesetter, who refused to yield along the rail.
Fighting all the way to the wire, Bast emerged victorious over Comical by a neck. The Bob Baffert trainee completed the 1/16-mile event in a final time of 1:46.10 over the fast main track.
“This means a lot,” said Velazquez, who was tied with fellow Hall of Fame rider Jerry Bailey atop the all-time graded stakes wins list. “(Bailey) is a guy who I rode with for so many years and have looked up to for so long. It’s incredible. Going to the backstretch, she looked really good, and I was pretty confident. We got to the turn and I thought we might go a little wide, but I said ‘no, no – you have to stay there.’ I got up to her and she cruised down the lane and put her head out in front of the other horse. She gave me a lot today. I felt she gave me what she could to win the race.”
K P Dreamin, the lone runner with prior two-turn experience, surpassed Been Studying Her in mid-stretch to take third, while Buyer’s Remorse completed the order of finish.
Shortly after the start, Leucothea, who perhaps luckily drew the far outside post, veered out sharply moments after breaking from the gate. Rider Norberto Arroyo, Jr., fell after being unable to stop his filly from running toward the outer rail and into the crowd of on-track photographers. The Santa Anita Park outriders were able to safely corral Leucothea, while Arroyo, Jr., walked off under his own power and resumed riding the rest of the card.
Bast’s win was her second in three career starts, having broken her maiden last out in the Del Mar Debutante Stakes (G1). The daughter of Uncle Mo, who was second in her debut effort, increased her lifetime earnings mark to $372,200.
“Down the backside she was going nice, then turning for home, John was like, ‘Come on baby, we’ve got to go,’ and she wasn’t going,” said Baffert, who has now won the Chandelier 11 times. “He thought she would respond, but I think this will get her ready for the (Breeders’ Cup). This is a very demanding, deep, heavy race track. Not only do you have to be really good, you have to be ready.”
Bast returned $2.40 to win, $2.10 to place, and $2.10 to show. Comical brought back $5 to place and $2.80 to show, while K P Dreamin paid $4 to show.