Baffert's Trust Pay Off in During's Jerome Win

(from Belmont report)
Trainer Bob Baffert trusted the instincts of his long-time friend, Tonja Terranova, and the result was a three-quarter-length victory for During in Saturday's $150,000 Jerome Handicap (gr. III) for 3-year-olds.

The son of 1994 sprint champion Cherokee Run, with Jose Santos aboard, defeated Tafaseel in 1:36 1/5. It was During's fourth win in 11 starts at odds of 6-1.

Terranova, wife of trainer John Terranova, worked for Baffert several years ago. For the last few years, Baffert has enlisted her help in saddling horses that run in New York, including the likes of Silver Charm, Real Quiet, War Emblem, Point Given and Silverbulletday.

Baffert and owner James McIngvale weren't thrilled with During's fourth-place finish in the King's Bishop (gr. I) at Saratoga on Aug. 23.

"Bob thought he ran okay in the King's Bishop, but he wasn't really thrilled," Terranova said. "So, he thought he would take him home to California. I called him on Saturday and said, `Bob, why don't you let me work him Sunday?'

"He told me to go ahead and work him and see how he works. He worked really good on Sunday, and Bob said to go ahead and run him. He's been very happy since he's gotten here. He's more relaxed. I talked to Jose (Santos) about him, and said to make sure that he breaks real good and let him relax out of there. He took a long rein on him, and During punched when he asked him to go."

During had it easy from the start, as 6-5 favorite Pretty Wild broke on top from the rail and set the pace of :22 2/5; and :45, with Distinct Vision hot on his heels. Santos kept During in the race as a stalking third, then came wide with a rally that simply was too much for the competition.

"My horse broke real sharp," Santos said. "We had a beautiful trip. At the half-mile pole, we started picking it up. He fought the whole, entire stretch. Tafaseel put in a good run, but my horse wouldn't let him by."

Tafaseel, who was third behind Strong Hope and Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker in Saratoga's Jim Dandy (gr. II), turned in an outstanding performance for jockey Richard Migliore. He finished nearly five lengths ahead of Pretty Wild.

"He's just not really crazy about the inside," said Pretty Wild's trainer, Stanley Hough. "He wasn't last year. That's the only excuse I can give him. Other than that, he had a good trip and plenty of opportunity. I'm glad to have him back, and now we can give him a little time. We don't have to point for anything. This was the last of the three-year-old races he would run in."

The Swaps (gr. II) winner at Hollywood Park in July, During earned $90,000 to improve his career total to $447,670.

The winner paid $15.20, $6.90 and $4. Tafaseel returned $7.30 and $4.10. Pretty Wild's show price was $2.50.

Inamorato, Your Bluffing, Roses in May, Distinct Vision, Gigawatt and Region of Merit completed the order of finish.

(Chart, Equibase)