Bob Baffert in the paddock before the 2015 Travers Stakes – Photo by NYRA/Coglianese Photos/Courtney Heeney
NYRA Press Release: Following their final workouts at Del Mar Sunday and Monday, Bob Baffert’s pair of late-blooming 3-year-olds, American Freedom and Arrogate, are set to ship cross-country on Wednesday for next Saturday’s Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers Stakes.
“I’m going to breeze each of them one more time and as long as they’re breezing well, we’ll come in that week,” said Baffert, who added he would arrive in Saratoga next Thursday evening.
Rafael Bejarano, who has been aboard both colts through their most recent starts, will remain on American Freedom.
Arrogate will be ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith.
Unlike last year, when an estimated 15,000 people were on hand to watch Triple Crown winner American Pharoah gallop on the main track the day before the Travers, Baffert is flying a bit under the radar with Haskell Invitational runner-up American Freedom and Arrogate; the latter will be making his stakes debut after three straight wins.
“Totally different scene,” he acknowledged. “The race is coming up with the 3-year-old championship on the line. It’s a huge deal.”
Baffert noted American Freedom will race with blinkers off after wearing them in each of his five previous starts, including wins in the Grade 3 Iowa Derby and the Sir Barton. “I don’t think he needs them anymore,” he explained.
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