The training and next-race status of sophomore ‘TDN Rising Stars’ Cave Rock (Arrogate) and Faustin (Curlin) remained unclear Thursday, with trainer Bob Baffert texting a “Don’t Know” emoji when asked to outline the game plans for the colts respectively slotted at Nos. 5 and 6 on the most recent TDN Top 12 rankings for the GI Kentucky Derby.
The two were apparently not among a contingent of at least 11 other 3-year-old colts transferred out of Baffert’s care prior to a Feb. 28 deadline that would have enabled them to accrue qualifying points and race in the May 6 Derby.
Those transitions were necessitated by a ban imposed by Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), that prohibits Baffert’s trainees from garnering qualifying points or racing in the Derby while under Baffert’s control.
CDI first imposed that two-year punishment in June 2021 because of a string of drug positives in horses Baffert trained, including two in CDI’s most prominent races, the 2020 GI Kentucky Oaks and the 2021 Derby.
On Feb. 17, a federal judge denied Baffert a preliminary injunction that the Hall-of-Fame trainer had sought to be eligible to race in this year’s Derby.
A Mar. 1 report by Ron Flatter in Horse Racing Nation quoted Baffert say saying that Cave Rock and Faustin were “still under my care” without any elaboration on their next-race targets.
Cave Rock was the beaten favorite when second in last November’s GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. That’s the lone loss in his impressive four-race career, which includes Grade I victories in the Del Mar Futurity and American Pharoah S. He has two registered works this year, most recently going four furlongs in :49.40 (18.22) at Santa Anita Feb. 20.
Faustin is 1-for-2, having registered a stylish win on opening day of the Santa Anita winter/spring meet and a second in the Jan. 29 GII San Vicente S. He worked twice in February, most recently going five furlongs in a bullet :58.80 (1/46) at Santa Anita Feb. 18.
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