Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert won his 100th stakes race at Del Mar Aug. 31 as favored Fed Biz, unraced since February, rallied under a rousing ride from Joe Talamo after being passed mid-stretch to edge Jimmy Creed in the $100,000 El Cajon Stakes (VIDEO).
Kaleem Shah’s 13-10 choice Fed Biz, considered a top Triple Crown prospect last winter, went to the sidelines after impressive wins in two one-mile starts this winter at Santa Anita Park. Despite the seven-month layoff, the talented son of Giant's Causeway , a $950,000 Keeneland yearling purchase, was made the El Cajon betting choice after a series of blazing workouts under Baffert’s direction.
Fed Biz hit the wire a neck in front of Jimmy Creed and jockey Garrett Gomez after falling behind by a head with less than a furlong remaining of the one-mile contest over Del Mar’s Polytrack. The final time was 1:35.58.
"That was quite a horse race," Baffert said. "Two really nice horses going at it. I told Joe, 'Don't win by a lot,' and he followed my instructions."
Third in the field of five three-year-olds was Unusual Heatwave, 1 1/4 lengths behind Jimmy Creed and 4 ½ lengths ahead of Shaun Washington. Private Zone was last. Tribal Tribute was withdrawn from the original lineup.
Baffert is the all-time leader in number of stakes victories at Del Mar, ahead of five fellow Hall of Famers: Ron McAnally (75), who is still active; the late Charlie Whittingham (74), the late Bobby Frankel (70), Richard Mandella (49), and D. Wayne Lukas (48), both still active. Baffert began the current meeting with 93 stakes triumphs.
Fed Biz gave the trainer his 18th win this summer, moving him into a three-way tie atop the standings with Doug O’Neill and Peter Miller with four days remaining of the 37-day session.
"I was thinking about running (Fed Biz) in the sprint (Pirate's Bounty on Sept. 5) but I really didn't want to sprint him because I have some bigger things in mind," Baffert said. "Turning for home when Garrett (Gomez on Jimmy Creed) had him in tight, I just had a feeling that even though (Fed Biz) hadn't run in a long time he was going to gut it out."
Bred in Kentucky by Colts Neck Stables, the winning bay colt is out of the Wild Again mare Spunoutacontrol.
Fed Biz, scoring his third win in four starts and first stakes victory, returned $4.60. He earned $60,000 to increase his career total to $131, 100.