August 13, 2016
Fourth on debut behind subsequently stakes-placed Silver Assault (Maclean’s Music) and next-out ‘TDN Rising Star’ Chasing Aces (Flatter) first out at Santa Anita June 25, Klimt aired by 5 1/4 lengths in Arcadia July 10 to earn the publication’s distinction himself. He was one of three promising ‘Rising Stars’ squaring off in this event, and proved best of the bunch as they ran 1-2-3.
The big bay came away well and stalked the pace of Big League through splits of :23.26 and :46.03. Those two locked horns at the top of the lane and engaged in a spirited stretch battle until just outside the sixteenth pole, when Klimt started to do the better work and pulled away convincingly. Kentucky shipper Thirstforlife came under an early ride, but did enough to round out the triple.
“This horse is strong,” offered winning pilot Rafael Bejarano. “He’s been working so well. I’ve been on him in the mornings and he was working great. He relaxed for me today and finished well. The way he finished, going to 6 1/2 [furlongs] today, he’ll definitely run on.”
Hall of Fame conditioner Bob Baffert, who had already won seven previous Best Pals–including four with future GI Del Mar Futurity winners–added, “I was disappointed [with his first start] and thought that maybe he’s just a grass horse. But he came back, won his next one, and he’s worked really well here. He’s always shown that he’s a horse that’s going to go farther. It was a good race, they didn’t go too fast. The kind of race you want to see. The Futurity [Sept. 5] is next. That’s the plan.”