They say bad things come in threes. And for Bob Baffert, he’s undoubtedly had a week to forget.
In what was a horror week for the Californian-based trainer, news broke early last week that Charlatan had returned a positive race day test before Baffert was forced to retire unbeaten three-year-old Nadal after an innocuous training mishap at Santa Anita Park.
Then came the news overnight that Baffert’s lovable grey Arrogate had sadly passed away due to a mystery illness.
While Baffert awaits the secondary testing of Charlatan’s positive race day sample, the all-conquering stable is plotting their next move as the beginning of the spring racing season begins across the US this week.
There was suggestion that Charlatan would make his next start in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, but pending the outcome of the positive test, those plans could be thrown out.
Should the secondary test return positive, it would result in the disqualification of Charlatan and a redistribution of prize money and Kentucky Derby qualifying points from his performance at Oaklawn.
The Arkansas Derby, which carried a purse of $500,000 in each division, awarded $300,000 to the winners and 100-40-20-10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top four finishers in each split.
It’s more likely Charlatan will take on the G1 Woody Stephens Stakes, which would be a precursor to the July 18 G1 Haskell Invitational Stakes at Monmouth Park before contending the Kentucky Derby on September 5.
Nadal had been pointed toward the Belmont Stakes before he broke down and will now take on stud duties post-surgery.
Racing resumes at Belmont Park today after an 80-day hiatus in New York. Click here to view our free picks for today’s card.