By Frank Angst
The victory by Kaleem Shah’s Klimt gives trainer Bob Baffert 13 wins in the seven-furlong test for juveniles. Klimt nailed down a second straight graded stakes win and his first grade I score.
Guided by Rafael Bejarano and sent off at 5-2, Klimt completed the race in 1:21.80 on a fast track with Straight Fire holding second. The victory gives Klimt two straight graded stakes wins and his first grade I score after the son of Quality Road won the 6 1/2-furlong Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) Aug. 13 at Del Mar.
In Monday’s test, Jungle Racing, LNJ Foxwoods, and KMN Racing’s Straight Fire broke well under Kent Desormeaux and led through a quarter-mile in :22.33. After racing in fourth into the turn, Klimt unleashed a big move in the turn to power into second just after Straight Fire posted a half-mile in :44.38.
Klimt would take over in midstretch and draw off late to secure his third straight win. Klimt finished fourth in his debut June 25 at Santa Anita Park then won a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race there on July 10 by 5 1/4 lengths before his 2 3/4-length victory in the Best Pal.
Klimt returned $7 to win, $2.80 to place, and $2.20 to show. Straight Fire paid $2.40 and $2.10 for the minor awards and Midnight Pleasurereturned $2.80 to show. Straight Fire and Midnight Pleasure both earned their first stakes placings after entering off clear maiden wins at the Del Mar meet.
Chasing Aces, who drifted in at the gap, was pulled up by jockey Tyler Baze in the turn and vanned off after the race. After the race it was reported to the Del Mar pressbox that Chasing Aces had to be euthanized following an injury to his left front leg.
Baffert credited Bejarano with a top ride, noting his early placing.
“What a way to end the meet!,” Baffert said.
Bred in Kentucky by Thor-Bred Stables, Klimt is out of the stakes-placed Dixie Union mare Inventive, who also has produced grade III-placed West Coast Chick, by Malibu Moon.
Baffert went to $435,000 to land Klimt at this year’s Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. March sale of 2-year-olds in training sale where he was consigned by Eddie Woods, agent. Klimt also sold as a yearling, going for $140,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July sale where he was purchased by Bradley Thoroughbreds from consignor Gainesway, agent.