Trainer Anoints Real Quiet Ready
BOSTON (AP) _ The trainer of Real Quiet, the 4-5 favorite for Saturday’s 60th running of the Grade II $600,000 Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs, arrived in Boston on Thursday and pronounced his horse fit and ready for the race.
``I’m thinking I can run him here and have him ready for the Hollywood Gold Cup,″ said Bob Baffert, referring to the $1 million Grade I Gold Cup, which will be run at Hollywood Park in California June 27.
Real Quiet, winner of both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 1998, won the Pimlico Special in his last start by a half-length over Free House in a head-to-head duel over the last three-eighths of a mile.
This will be the first time Baffert has run a horse in the race.
``I’ve followed the history of the MassCap and I know from the past runnings that it will take a very good horse to win the race,″ Baffert said.
Baffert sees National Thoroughbred Racing Association Champions Series points leader Behrens as his main competition.
``If you look at his numbers, he has run faster than Real Quiet, so we are really going to have to step it up to face him,″ Baffert said.
Behrens is coming off consecutive Grade I wins in the Gulfstream Park and Oaklawn handicaps.
Completing the field for the 1 1/8-mile race, the fifth leg in the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Champions Series, are: Running Stag, Galloping Gael, Personal Moon and Brushing Up.
``Running Stag is a very tough horse also and likes to come off the pace,″ Baffert said. ``He could easily make it a more competitive race.″
Running Stag finished second in his last race, the Shergar Cup Classic at 1 1/8 miles on the turf in England. He will be carrying eight pounds less than Real Quiet and five pounds less than Behrens.
Galloping Gael is the only Massachusetts bred horse ever to run in the race. He will be carrying the colors of owners David Ahearn and Jim Dubovick.