Baffert Goes 1-2 as Wynstock Edges Cornell in Los Alamitos Derby

Make that eight in a row for Bob Baffert in the $100,000 Los Alamitos Derby.

The Hall of Fame trainer ran 1-2 on Saturday as Wynstock nosed out stablemate Cornell in a photo finish as the duo dueled down the stretch after overtaking tiring pacesetter and 7-10 favorite Tapalo.

Ninth win for Bob Baffert in the Los Alamitos Derby

It’s the third time Baffert has swept the exacta in the past five years at Los Alamitos Race Course’s top event for 3-year-olds, and his 14th win in the race overall.

Wynstock. Benoit Photo.

Wynstock was back on familiar ground after running last of 11 in the Southwest Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park, sixth in the Santa Anita Derby (G1), and sixth in the Desert Code Stakes on turf. In his final race as a 2-year-old, he won the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2).

The son of Solomini is owned by Los Alamitos track owner Dr. Ed Allred and the track’s vice president Jack Liebau. He won for the third time in eight starts and boosted his earnings to $243,740.

Winning time for the 1 1/8 miles was 1:50.51.

Tapalo Leads Early, Wynstock Steals the Show

Sent off as the third choice at 4-1 in a field of five, Wynstock, usually a front-runner, was second early on as Tapalo led by as many as seven lengths. But Wynstock, ridden by Kyle Frey, and Cornell, with Edwin Maldanado aboard, began closing as Tapalo lugged out at the top of the stretch and weakened before finishing fourth.

For online horse racing aficionados, New York-bred Wynstock returned $10.80 on a $2 win bet.

“I thought his only chance was to be on the lead,’’ Baffert said. “But he runs well here, because he likes a firmer surface.

“He couldn’t make the lead, so (Frey) just grabbed him, and (Tapalo) was out there by himself. I knew Cornell was going to make a run. I thought Cornell was going to cut the corner down the stretch, but he stayed outside, and (Tapalo) was drifting out on him.

“I saw a horse flying on the inside and I thought son of a gun, and then I realized, oh, that’s my horse. He came back.”

John Sadler, who trains Tapalo, was optimistic his colt could win at a longer distance following his victory in the 7-furlong Laz Barrera Stakes at Santa Anita last month.

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