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DEL MAR, CA – Trainer Bob Baffert’s lesser-respected Thousand Words turned the tables on his highly-touted stablemate Cezanne and the top-ranked Honor A. P., bombing the tote at 9/1 to upset Saturday’s $100,000 Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar.
Breaking cleanly from the inner-most post under Abel Cedillo, Thousand Words went straight to the lead and posted opening fractions of :23.89, :47.93, and 1:12.33.
Behind him, Honor A. P. (the 1/5 favorite) and Cezanne (second choice at 5/2) played musical chairs, frequently swapping second and third while their jockeys played strategy games.
Cezanne shot up to run alongside his stablemate heading into the far turn, forcing Honor A. P. to stay out wide, and the three momentarily looked ready for a dogfight.
Honor A. P. faltered slightly at the top of the stretch and Cezanne was unable to match his stablemate’s turn of foot as Thousand Words began to distance himself.
Honor A. P. found high gear in mid-stretch, but it proved to be just a touch too late because Thousand Words crossed 3/4 of a length ahead of him at the wire.
The Bob Baffert trainee completed the 1 1/16-mile fast dirt route in a final time of 1:43.85.
“(Baffert) just told me to warm him up real well, then get him out of there, then see what happens,” Cedillo said. “He broke well and I saw I could take the lead, so I did. He was going along there steady, steady, steady. Then we got it done.”
Honor A. P. was a 1/2-length ahead of Kiss Today Goodbye, who necked out a flat Cezanne for third.
“He ran well, but we’re disappointed he didn’t win,” said Honor A. P.’s jockey Mike Smith. “I haven’t been able to get on him in the mornings and I think that’s made a difference. He’s just been going along there, not doing much in the mornings. I need to be on him and get more out of him, but that’s the way it is now; that’s just the way it is. This distance is too short for him, too. Just not his day.”
Uncle Chuck (aiming for the Travers Stakes [G1])and Anneau d’Or (Ellis Park Derby) were scratched.
The Shared Belief is part of the Road to the 2020 Kentucky Derby prep race season. Thousand Words earned 50 points for the win, with Honor A. P. receiving 20 for second, Kiss Today Goodbye 10 for third, and Cezanne 5 for fourth.
Thousand Words’ win was his first since February’s Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park. The Florida-bred 3-year-old Pioneerof the Nile colt – purchased for $1 million – improved his overall record to 7-4-1-0 with $327,000 earned for co-owners Albaugh Family Stables and Spendthrift Farm.
“I told Abel to jump him out of there and I thought he and Cezanne would be 1-2,” Baffert said. “Turning for home, I could tell that Honor A. P. wasn’t running like he usually does. Cezanne got really tired, but Thousand Words … I think he earned his way to the Derby.”
Thousand Words returned $20.40 to win and $3.40 to place, while Honor A. P. paid $2.10 to place. There was no show betting.
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