Unbeaten Corniche Wires American Pharoah in Style

Fri, 10/01/2021 - 15:36

'TDN Rising Star' Corniche (c, 2, Quality Road–Wasted Tears, by Najran), the $1.5-million OBS April topper earlier this spring and a jaw-dropping debut winner going 5 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar Sept. 4, led them every step of the way to run to the money as the 2-5 favorite in Friday's 'Win and You're In' GI American Pharoah S. at Santa Anita.

Pappacap (Gun Runner), winner of the GII Best Pal S., was second; third out maiden winner Oviatt Class (Bernardini) was third.

Corniche is the 10th winner of the American Pharoah for Hall of Famer Bob Baffert.

“You never know until you send them two turns whether they'll be able handle it or not, and it looked like he handled it pretty well,” Baffert said. “He's got a great mind so I'm pretty happy about that. Down the backside he was being chased by a really good horse. It was a really good race all around."

“We're just going to let the process play itself out and not think about that now. The main thing is to keep them healthy and have them ready for the next dance. I just focus on these horses day in and day out. I have a lot of responsibilities.”

Sent to the front from his rail draw by Hall of Famer Mike Smith, Corniche showed the way through an opening quarter in :23.55 and a half mile in :47.26. Challenged by stablemate Rockefeller (Medaglia d'Oro) approaching the three-eighths pole, Corniche let it out a notch as they turned for home and was hand ridden late to a dominating 3 1/4-length score while making his two-turn debut.

“There's just so much upside to this horse,” Smith said. “That is what's really exciting about him. When he broke his maiden as impressive as he did, he just gave me that feeling that we weren't even close to his full potential, and he gave me that feeling today. He's a big colt and he carries a lot of flesh. As he starts to get even fitter and harder inside, he's gonna be a force to reckon with.”

Source: Thoroughbred Daily News