Bob Baffert, who has been headquartered at Santa Anita for more than two decades, can fall out of bed and be at the Breeders' Cup when it's run next Friday and Saturday. Ditto for his horses, who are only a furlong away from their barn to the starting gate, but that doesn't necessarily provide an edge over those who have to ship in from all parts of the globe.
"The only advantage you have in the Breeders' Cup is if you have the better horse," Baffert said, shrugging off suggestions of the home court.
"That's one thing I've realized about the Breeders' Cup," continued the Hall of Fame trainer, who has 11 horses pre-entered in this year's World Championship events. "I don't care where you go; the best horse is your only advantage."
Baffert has won a total of eight Breeders' Cup races, including the Sprint (Midnight Lute) and Juvenile (Midshipman) at Santa Anita in 2008, but the well-respected conditioner was shut out the last time Santa Anita hosted the Breeders' Cup in 2009
"Believe me, everywhere I've gone for the Breeders' Cup, the only time I had an advantage is when I had the better horse. If I'm 50-1 and only have to walk about 100 yards, it's not going to help."
Agent Joe Ferrer has booked Rafael Bejarano on at least nine horses for the Breeders' Cup, including Game On Dude (Classic), Executiveprivilege (Juvenile Fillies), Contested (Filly & Mare Sprint) and Power Broker (Juvenile), all for Baffert, and 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom (Mile).
In what amounts to an endorsement of Santa Anita's autumn meet Breeders' Cup stakes program, all 13 horses that won Breeders' Cup prep races at Santa Anita earlier this meet are entered in the Breeders' Cup.
Retired Hall of Fame great Eddie Delahoussaye is looking forward to the Breeders' Cup.
"The Classic looks like a wide open race to me," said the popular Cajun, who has seven Breeders' Cup wins on his resume. "All I know is next weekend should be great for racing."
Next Friday's local weather forecast calls for cloudy skies with a high of 80 degrees and a 10 percent chance of rain, while Saturday's is mostly cloudy, a high of 81 degrees, with no chance of rain.