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The 2023 Preakness Stakes (G1) contender National Treasure has required patience from his Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and his ownership group: SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Robert E. Masterson, Stonestreet Stables LLC, Jay A. Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital LLC and Catherine Donovan.
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The $500,000 yearling purchase has one win in five career starts but has three graded-stakes placings and earnings of $345,000.
Before the Quality Road colt ran third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) in November, Baffert described him as a work in progress. Before he sent him to Saturday’s Preakness Stakes, he said he was still immature and had not completely grown up physically.
Baffert quipped that, “He would have been a great Kentucky Derby-in-September horse.”
In his most recent start, National Treasure was fourth in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) on April 8. He did not go to the Kentucky Derby (G1) and was pointed to the 148th Preakness, a classic that Baffert has won a record-tying seven times.
National Treasure will be equipped with blinkers, which he has worn twice before, and drew the rail for the 1 3/16-mile Preakness. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, who has been up for four of his career starts, has the mount.
While National Treasure is quick and may be a prominent player in the Preakness, Baffert and his owners are playing the waiting game with the colt.
“The talent is there,” Baffert said. “We just haven’t seen it in full yet. Maybe by summer. But he’s doing well for this race.”
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