Baffert Loaded for H. Allen Jerkens with Arabian Lion, Fort Bragg

Trainer Bob Baffert’s Dynamic Duo Set to Dominate $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial at Saratoga Race Course

A pair of trainer Bob Baffert’s 3-year-olds, who prefer shorter distances to longer routes, give the Hall of Famer an imposing 1-2 punch for the $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial (G1) on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.

Arabian Lion, winner of the Woody Stephens (G1) on Belmont Stakes Day and the Sir Barton on Preakness Day, along with Fort Bragg, second by a neck in the Pat Day Mile (G1) on Kentucky Derby Day and winner of the Dwyer (G3), are all set to go 7 furlongs in a field of six.

Arabian Lion wins the 2023 Woody Stephens – Coglianese Photos

The race is one of five Grade 1s Saturday on Travers Day – racing’s biggest day of the summer season. Baffert also sends out Preakness (G1) winner National Treasure in the 1 ¼-mile Travers.

Arabian Lion took command with a three-wide move at the top of the lane and won the 7-furlong Woody Stephens on June 10 by 1 ¾ lengths. John Velazquez will again be aboard on Saturday, leaving from post 6. Arabian Lion, a chestnut son of Baffert’s 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify, won the 1 1/16-mile Sir Barton by four lengths on May 20.

Fort Bragg, a son of top sire Tapit, posted his first win of 2023 in the 1-mile Dwyer on July 1 by holding of Saudi Crown by a neck.

Also entered are Verifying, unbeaten New York Thunder, Drew’s Gold, and One in Vermillion.

Race Analysis and Picks for the $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens (G1)

Baffert said Arabian Lion’s versatility gives Velazquez options in a race expected to start quickly led by New York Thunder, gate-to-wire, 7 ½-length winner of the Amsterdam (G2) at the Spa on July 28 and Verifying, stalking winner of the Indiana Derby (G3) on July 1.

“It all depends how fast they go early – pace makes the race,” Baffert said. “He showed the way around at Pimlico and his race in New York was impressive.” The colt’s most recent workout came at Del Mar, where he covered 5 furlongs in 59.20 seconds.

“He hasn’t run in a bit, and I just wanted to sharpen him up,” Baffert said.

Fort Bragg will be ridden by Joel Rosario from post 4.

“He’s maturing and getting better with age,’’ Baffert said. “He’s working well. We just have to hope the horse shows up.”

The picks: Verifying, Arabian Lion, New York Thunder

The field for the $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens (G1), from the rail out, with jockey and trainer:

1 Drew’s Gold (Jose Gomez, James Chapman)
2 One in Vermillion (Luis Saez, Esteban Martinez)
3 Verifying (Flavien Prat, Brad Cox)
4 Fort Bragg (Joel Rosario, Bob Baffert)
5 New York Thunder (Tyler Gaffalione, Jorge Delgado)
6 Arabian Lion (John Velazquez, Bob Baffert)


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