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The 3-year-olds are on full display as we turn the page to 2020. The opening weekend of the year gave us plenty to talk about with great performances at Santa Anita Park and Gulfstream Park. Here were the three who we thought were best:
It looks like trainer Bob Baffert has another prime time Kentucky Derby contender. He sent out two horses in last Saturday’s Sham Stakes (G3), where Authentic and Azul Coast ran 1-2 at Santa Anita Park. However, Authentic finished way ahead of the rest of the field, dominating in wire to wire fashion by 7 3/4 lengths. The only anxious moments came in the stretch when the horse ducked sharply towards the rail on two separate occasions. As the competition gets tougher, those problems will need to be ironed out, but he showed a high level of talent with this victory.
The Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream Park turned into a throwdown in the stretch, with the heavily-favored Chance It battling As Seen On TV in an exciting finish. The two colts were head and head entering the stretch, and it stayed that way until Chance It edged clear right at the wire to win by a head. They were nearly 3 lengths clear of the other horses in the race, a good sign for the two of them moving forward. It looks like a rematch could be in the cards, with both connections targeting the Holy Bull Stakes (G2) off of this effort.
We can’t forget about the fillies last weekend. On Sunday, Santa Anita Park ran the Santa Ynez Stakes (G2), which featured multiple Grade 1 winner Bast. She took on a couple of up-and-comers from within her own barn, but in the end, her class overcame the more inexperienced fillies for a 1 3/4-length victory. The Bob Baffert trainee stalked the early pace professionally before making a three-wide rally down the lane. This victory should set her up well for her next start, with the Kentucky Oaks still very much in play for her.
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