Baffert ‘B Team’ a Strong Hand in Awesome Again

By Joe Bianca

As his two stable stars, champion Arrogate (Unbridled’s Song) and GI Pacific Classic hero Collected (City Zip), await their engagement in the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic, Bob Baffert will send out a pair of strong chances trying to clinch their own Classic berth in the GI Awesome Again S., a “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge event.

Coolmore’s Cupid (Tapit) won three graded stakes as a sophomore, but stamped himself as a legitimate Grade I runner with a comfortable score in the GI Gold Cup S. in his 4-year-old bow May 27. Laid up briefly after that, the gray returned with a more workmanlike tally in the Harry F. Brubaker S. Aug. 23 at Del Mar. Cupid draws the outermost post, and with a long run to the first turn, figures to find a good stalking spot as the early maneuvering shakes out.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum’s Mubtaahij (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) makes his first start since running fourth behind stablemate Arrogate in the G1 Dubai World Cup. The bay won four of six starts to begin his career, but has gone winless in 11 starts since while running second in last year’s World Cup and GI Woodward S. The late-running type adds blinkers for this spot and shows an upbeat return worktab, capped by a five-furlong spin in 1:00 flat (3/44) here Sept. 26.

Midnight Storm (Pioneerof the Nile) will try to regain his top form as the likely controlling speed here. A seven-time, multi-surface graded stakes winner, the dark bay tailed off some after running second in the GI Santa Anita H. Mar. 11. Third at 1-2 in the GII Oaklawn H., he faded to fourth behind Cupid in the Gold Cup and filled the same slot last out in the GII Del Mar Mile H. Aug. 20.

Breaking Lucky takes his first crack east of the Mississippi and gets away from superstar Gun Runner (Candy Ride {Arg}), who he’s chased home three times in his last six starts, including when third last out in the GI Whitney S. Aug. 5 at Saratoga. The chestnut has a number of races good enough to win here, sporting five 100+ Beyers, second only to Midnight Storm in this field.

Kaleem Shah’s Dortmund (Big Brown) is expected to scratch after Art Sherman deemed this too tough of a spot for the 5-year-old’s first start since finishing fourth at odds-on in the Santana Mile S. here Apr. 1.

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