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Two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer Bob Baffert has two of his primary champions
awaiting action opening weekend of Santa Anita's blockbuster 22-day Autumn Meet, West Coast in Saturday's Awesome Again Stakes for three-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles and Abel Tasman in Sunday's Zenyatta Stakes for fillies and mares, three and up, at 1 1/16 miles.
West Coast, Eclipse Award champion three-year-old male of 2017, who has not raced since last March 31 in the Dubai World Cup, was a $6,000 supplemental nominee to the Awesome Again. Abel Tasman was Eclipse winner as outstanding three-year-old filly of 2017.
The aforementioned two stakes are but two of five Grade I, Breeders' Cup “Win and You're In” events opening weekend, providing the winner with a fees-paid berth to their respective Breeders' Cup races Nov. 2 and 3 at Churchill Downs.
The others are the American Pharoah Stakes at 1 1/16 miles for two-year-olds; the Chandelier Stakes at 1 1/16 miles for two-year-old fillies; and the Rodeo Drive Stakes at 1 ¼ miles on turf for fillies and mares, three and up, all on Saturday.
“It's sort of a tough spot (for West Coast),” Baffert said Wednesday morning. “He's probably about 80 percent (ready), but we're going to enter him and see what it looks like. If he's going to run in the Breeders' Cup (Classic Nov. 3), there's no other spot. I didn't want to ship anywhere, because that would have been double-tough on him.
“Abel Tasman runs in the Zenyatta.”
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