HOT SPRINGS, AR – Trainer Bob Baffert’s Grade 1-winning colt Eight Rings fired a bullet best-of-29 5-furlong work from the gate in :59.00 at Oaklawn Park on Friday as he gears up for a start in the $100,000 Bachelor Stakes on April 25.

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Eight Rings was making his first timed trip over the Oaklawn Park dirt since arriving Tuesday from his base at Santa Anita Park. The 6-furlong Bachelor will be his first start of 2020 after appearing four times as a 2-year-old, winning twice.

“I heard we ended up working with a pretty good horse,” Jimmy Barnes, Baffert’s traveling assistant, said after Eight Rings worked with multiple stakes winner Hot Shot Kid. “He hasn’t run since the Breeders’ Cup and California, we had some wet weather, so (Baffert) wasn’t able to work him before he left, so then this was our scheduled breeze. It’s not uncommon to see us go to the gate off a layoff to make sure we’re ready.”

A son of the late stallion Empire Maker, Eight Rings broke his maiden on debut while going 5 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar on August 4. He dumped jockey Drayden Van Dyke shortly after the start of the Del Mar Futurity (G1) but rebounded to win the American Pharoah Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park next out.

Eight Rings after winning the American Pharoah (Credit: Ernie Belmonte)

Eight Rings ended 2019 with a sixth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), held at Santa Anita Park, before Baffert gave him time off to grow and develop.

SF Racing and Starlight Racing purchased Eight Rings for $520,000 as a yearling, then took on additional co-owners Madaket Stables, Frederick Hertrich III, John Fielding, Golconda Stables, and the Coolmore contingency of Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith.

Other contenders expected to enter the Bachelor include Tom Amoss’ local Gazebo Stakes winner Long Weekend and the Steve Asmussen-trained Echo Town.