On March 22, Baffert scored with the Irish Gypsy-Mother Ruth exacta when he had three horses running in a maiden special weight sprint. And the prices weren’t too bad either, with Irish Gypsy paying 4-to-1 and Mother Ruth at 5-to-2.
On Saturday, Baffert was back at it. He had both #6 Hard Kisses and #8 Diamond Tags making their second lifetime starts. In her Feb. 22 debut, Hard Kisses finished 1-1/2 lengths behind Saturday’s favorite #3 Shiksa — but she ran a better race that day, as she was bumped at the break and went wide on the turn. Also, Shiksa — who by contrast had a great trip Feb. 22 — is trained by the struggling Patrick Biancone, who has won with just one of his last 47 starters.
Baffert’s other runner, the 9-to-2 shot Diamond Tags, showed a purchase price of $500,000 and was coming off a seven month layoff.
During the running of the race, Hard Kisses, 5-to-1, sat in third behind pace-setters #2 Ultra Awesome and #7 Gumption. Jockey David Flores shook Hard Kisses up at the top of the lane, she came to the leaders, then took command in midstretch and never surrendered the lead. Diamond Tags lagged in last then rallied strongly to be second, which completed the $33.50 Baffert exacta.
I had difficulty trying to separate which Baffert horse was stronger, so I let the odds board decide. My plan was to bet $350 on the longer-odds horse — which turned out to be Hard Kisses — and $250 on the other, Diamond Tags.
I collected $2,170 after wagering $600.
To watch a replay of this race, go to www.calracing.com.