Everyone knows the wagering strategy of betting the “other Baffert,” a reference to not playing the Hall of Famers heavy favorite but his second choice. But on Sunday in the Grade 3 $100,000 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita, the winning strategy was to back the “other, other Baffert.”
Bob Baffert had three horses in the race and it was 16-1 longshot Reincarnate, who won the Kentucky Derby points race, though Baffert horses are not eligible to receive Derby points.
There was a concerning moment in the one-mile race when the second favorite, Spun Intended, for trainer Mark Glatt was eased on the far turn, pulled up and jockey Mike Smith jumped off. A splint was put on the left front leg of the 3-year-old colt and he walked on to a van and was taken back to the barn.
Glatt told the Daily Racing Form that the horse was OK and would be fine.
Baffert originally had four horses in the race but scratched Speed Boat Reach, dropping the field to five horses.
Reincarnate broke smartly and stayed near the front for the first half of the race mostly in a duel with Spun Intended. Reincarnate pulled in front approaching the far turn and then moved through the stretch to win by a neck. He paid $35.00, $9.00 and $3.60. Newgate was second, followed by favorite National Treasure and Packs a Whalop, giving Baffert the top three finishers.
“He’s the kind of horse that can run all day long,” Baffert said of Reincarnate. “He broke great and [jockey] Juan [Hernandez] just kind of let him run away from there. … I’m proud of all three. I think the winner and Newgate ran great. It looked like [Frankie] Dettori [aboard Newgate] was going to get it done.
“I think [Reincarnate] showed that distance is not going to be a problem for him once he got the lead. I was surprised he had that easy lead and he just kept going.”
Horses who run for Baffert are not currently eligible for Kentucky Derby points as he is currently in the second year of a two-year ban from Churchill Downs after 2021 Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit tested positive for a legal medication that is not allowed to be administered on race day. The case, including the ban, is currently in litigation.