Bob Baffert used to train Messier but due to his issues, this Empire Maker colt now represents Tim Yakteen's barn
Messier has long been on the radar for Kentucky Derby fans but until he left Bob Baffert's barn, he was ineligible to earn qualifying points. That move happened just in time to enter the SA Derby and 50 points got him in. Does he have a shot? Well JN Campbell thinks so...
This colt has as long a list of investors as I have ever seen … but when it comes to his trainer, there is a name of significance that is decidedly missing … Bob Baffert. Let’s face it, it might be Tim Yakteen who is making his 1st trip to the Derby as a principal, but Baffert is the one that molded and shaped this talented runner. He deserves consideration as a contender, and he might even surprise as the race time favorite. That is a bold statement, but this is Baffert we are talking about, the man who would have been the all-time winningest conditioner in the history of the KYD.
The main concern that most will have about this son of Empire Maker was his lackluster performance in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) against Zedan Racing’s Taiba. You would have thought this colt was a cinch for the SoCal crown, but it was not to be. In many ways, going back and watching the Los Al Futurity (G2) was a similar occurrence, as lone speed did not hold. When HOF rider John Velazquez asked for more down the lane in the SA Derby, you can interpret the result one of two ways … either his mount just didn’t have it, or his opponent was just that good.
Yakteen himself has worked under some impressive conditioners, and I wouldn’t count out his experience. He is not simply running the Baffert Playbook, in other words … If the team can get this colt to revert to the kind of energy he exhibited in the Robert Lewis S. (G3), then he is a “player” come race time. The “smart money” is always interesting to watch once the tote begins to flicker. Watch this one carefully because he could be a livewire … I will be using him underneath because you are playing with fire if you don’t. This is John Velazquez we are talking about in the irons … speed of speed … he did it with both Authentic and Medina Spirit, mind you.
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