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Cupid Wins Again, This Time In West Virginia Derby

Cupid Wins Again, This Time In West Virginia Derby

06.08.2016, by Jim
Cupid Wins Again, This Time In West Virginia Derby&h=223&w=348&zc=1

Bob Baffert’s Cupid was considered an early Kentucky Derby prospect but was taken off the Triple Crown trail following a disappointing 10th place finish in the Arkansas Derby. He took some time off before returning in the June 11 Easy Goer with a disappointing fourth. He then rebounded nicely to win the July 16 Grade 2 Indiana Derby and on Saturday added another victory with a win in the Grade 2 $750,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Racetrack. Jockey Rafael Bejarano followed the instructions of trainer Baffert (who was watching from California) and his assistant Jimmy Barnes who stressed the importance of staying outside. Bejarano did just that and Cupid won by four lengths.

Barnes addressed the quick turnaround from the Indiana Derby, held in mid July. Cupid won that race, shipped back to California so Baffert could give him a looksee and then shipped back East for this race: “It was a quick turnaround. But he was going well, so we decided to take advantage (of racing in) another Derby. He’s a good-feeling colt. He showed all the signs of being able to ship again.”

Cupid drew the inside rail post position which made it all the more imperative that Bejarano get him outside quickly. As Baffert put it: “I told him he’d better stay wide. He got him out there.” Baffert said that despite the quick turnaround he thought Cupid was even better on Saturday and could be strong down the stretch in 2016: “He was actually doing better coming into this race than the last one. He’s starting to fill out. His body’s getting stronger. Mentally, he’s getting better. He’s an improving horse. That throat issue, we were lucky we jumped on that right away.”

Baffert is referring to a throat issue that required surgery following the Arkansas Derby. Mo Tom and Economic Model were scratched from the race. 74-1 shot Whateverybodywant finished second two lengths in front of Name Changer. Anaximandros was fourth, and Suddenbreakingnews–2-1 second choice among bettors–finished fifth just ahead of Forevamo. Cupid is set to ship back to Del Mar on August 9 and assistant trainer Barnes indicated that there’s no plans for his next race as of yet.

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