He unfortunately had to withdraw morning-line favorite American Pharoah from the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) this week, but trainer Bob Baffert still has his hands all over the $2 million race. Not only does he still have One Lucky Dane in the gate, but the Baffert-trained classic winner Lookin At Lucky has sired that contender and another Juvenile starter, Lucky Player.
Lookin At Lucky himself ran a close-up second to Vale of York in the 2009 Juvenile, also run at Santa Anita Park, and then, after drawing the rail in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and being virtually eliminated before the race began, he went on to take the Preakness Stakes (gr. I). The five-time grade I winner was named champion 2-year-old in 2009 and champion 3-year-old in 2010. He banked better than $3.3 million.
“I guess I better start talking up One Lucky Dane now that American Pharoah is out,” Baffert joked outside his barn Oct. 29. He had One Lucky Dane pulled out of his stall, the colt’s copper coat shining bright in the California morning sun.
“He’s bigger than Lookin At Lucky was at this stage, with a real long body, but he really looked like his sire at the (Keeneland September) sale,” said Baffert. “You can see he’s still thin and has some filling out and maturing to do, but One Lucky Dane is the best Lookin At Lucky yearling I’ve seen at the sales. There are certain sires that I make sure I see all of their yearlings, and he was a grand-looking yearling, just beautiful, which is why he cost so much ($490,000).”
One Lucky Dane, bred in Kentucky by Woodford Thoroughbreds out of the Boston Harbor mare Echo Harbor, is owned by Michael Peterson. He will be battling Lucky Player, another Lookin At Lucky colt, in the Juvenile. Lucky Player won the Iroquois Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs in September for owner Jerry Durant and is out of the Storm Cat mare Janetstickettocats. He was bred in Florida by Destiny Oaks of Ocala and has won two of his four starts and $115,691.
Baffert, who also bought and trains two-time-winning 2-year-old Maybellene, a daughter of Lookin At Lucky, noted, “They’re not really precocious and quick. They want to go long, and I think they’re going to get better as they get older. Lookin At Lucky was ready early and was really precocious. But they all seem to have that will to win. Lookin At Lucky wanted to win.
"Maybellene the other day, she didn’t run real fast, but she looked like she was beat at the 3/8s pole and then gutted it out and came back and won. That’s the way he (Lookin At Lucky) was, and that’s so important. I love that. You can have a good horse, but if he doesn’t have the will to fight, it’s not good.
“Pretty good start from his first crop, having two in the Breeders’ Cup already. One Lucky Dane is going to want more distance. Once he picks up another gear he takes off. (jockey Rafael) Bejarano couldn’t pull him up from his work the other day; said he needs 1 ¼ miles. Down the road…
“He’s carrying a lot of weight in the barn now that American Pharoah is out. He has a presence about him and will get better as he goes along. Lookin At Lucky, he got really good quickly and we knew he was the goods right away.”
Baffert, who has been known to win with the longer-priced of two horses in a given race, will seek to put a new twist on that formula Nov. 1 and continue the legacy of one of his best graduates.