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Which Kentucky Derby Contenders Were Transferred From Bob Baffert’s Barn?

Which Kentucky Derby Contenders Were Transferred From Bob Baffert’s Barn?

A decision that many believed to be likely a couple of months ago has now been taken, as Bob Baffert has transferred a number of his leading contenders for the Kentucky Derby to other yards. The decision was made so that four horses could race for qualifying points and therefore run in the opening Triple Crown race of the season.

As part of the Baffert punishment for last year’s failed drugs test recorded by Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit, who was ineligible to make entries for the race at Churchill Downs this year.

So, which horses have been transferred and how likely is it that the equine stars can get the qualifying points that they need to line-up in the Kentucky Derby this year?


The most significant horse transferred late last week was Messier. He will now be housed in the Tom Yakteen stable and will have a final opportunity to qualify for the Kentucky Derby. There’s no doubt that this three-year-old is the biggest danger to the field at Churchill Downs, and would have already picked up qualifying points should he have been eligible following his win in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes.

He won that race at Santa Anita by a dominant 15 lengths, and could easily go off in the opening Triple Crown race as the clear favourite. However, his last chance to get points will come in the Santa Anita Derby, as he collides with the very well-respected Forbidden Kingdom on April 9th.

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Doppelganger is another of the three-year-olds trained by Baffert that is heading to the Yakteen yard ahead of the Kentucky Derby. However, his chances of qualifying for the race at Churchill Downs are considerably less. Doppelganger has won just once in three career starts, with that victory coming over six furlongs on debut. He returned to the track in January and finished fourth over seven furlongs at Santa Anita in the G2 San Vicente.

His most recent performance was much better, but he was still a distant second over 1 1/16 miles behind Forbidden Kingdom in the G2 San Felipe. There is one possible race for Doppelganger to claim qualifying points, and that comes in the form of the Arkansas Derby on April 2nd.

McLaren Vale

McLaren Vale is the third and final horse heading to the Yakteen yard ahead of the opening Triple Crown race of the season. The three-year-old broke his maiden at Santa Anita on debut in December, as he beat B Dawk and Balladeer over 6 ½ furlongs. He returned to the track in late January when finishing third over seven furlongs in the G2 San Vicente Stakes.

He was a fair distance behind Forbidden Kingdom on that start, with Pinehurst finishing second before later disappointing in the UAE Derby. His last stop before the Kentucky Derby comes at Santa Anita and the Santa Anita Derby on April 9th.


Of the four horses that were transferred to different stables, Blackadder is the only one that is heading to the Rodolphe Brisset yard.

This three-year-old may be the one that has been slightly overlooked at this stage, as he could have the best chance of qualifying for the Kentucky Derby after impressing this calendar year since being stepped up in distance. You can visit TwinSpires.com/kentuckyderby/ to know what his chances are.

He won for the first time in December at Santa Anita when winning over a mile, before backing that up in the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate. On that occasion, he won on the synthetic surface over 1 1/8 miles from Mackinnon, and his last opportunity to force his way into the Kentucky Derby will come in the Jeff Ruby Stakes on April 2nd.

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