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It must be nice being Bob Baffert! The Southern California trainer was on fire last weekend, winning the Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park before unleashing a beast at Santa Anita Park just minutes later. Read all about his two titans, plus a special filly who found her way back to the winner’s circle, in our latest Three Stars of the Week:
Wow, this was quite an effort. The Baffert-trained Nadal went off as the 4/5 favorite in the Rebel Stakes (G2), but he was far from a lock when turning for home after setting brutal opening factions on the front end. Breaking from the rail, Nadal went straight to the front, but American Theorem put applied pressure up the backside, pressing Nadal through the opening half-mile. Turning for home, Nadal put away American Theorem with ease, but other major challengers soon made their moves. In mid-stretch, the 82/1 Excession made a giant charge at the leader and looked like he was going to get past, but despite setting fast fractions, Nadal dug down deep and fended off the challenge to hold on for a 1/2-length victory. This was one of the more impressive Derby preps that we’ve seen this season and made Nadal a favorite as we head into the last round of Kentucky Derby preps.
Just 10 minutes after Nadal won the Rebel Stakes, it was Charlatan’s turn to shine. After dusting rivals last time out in his career debut, he made short work of an allowance field on Saturday, simply dominating the competition in wire-to-wire fashion by 10 1/4 lengths. The scariest thing about this victory was the fact that he was never asked for his best, which could mean that he has plenty more left in the tank when the races get tougher. He is not as far along as Nadal from a class standpoint, but he might be the most talented member of the current 3-year-old crop. He’ll be heading to a prep event to tackle his next major challenge.
The 2019 Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner got back into the winner’s circle last Saturday at Oaklawn Park, taking home the Azeri Stakes (G3) in front-running fashion. Right out of the gate, jockey Joe Talamo sent the filly to the front, which is where she does her best running. She sat alone, unhurried by any of her other rivals, which ended up being bad news for everyone in the field. As she entered the stretch, she had plenty left in the tank and cruised home to an easy victory. This race is hopefully just the beginning to a successful 4-year-old campaign for this talented filly.
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