Only hours after being announced as a finalist in the Two-Year-Old Male category at the upcoming Eclipse Awards, MUTH started his march toward becoming one of the best 3-year-olds in 2024 with a victory in the San Vicente Stakes (G2).
Making his first start since finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) in early November, MUTH was among the runners in the field keeping consistent pressure on the leader through the early running of the seven furlong dirt race. Around the turn, the Good Magic son started to make his challenge and kept it up as he raced four wide into the stretch.
After a brief stretch battle, MUTH was free and clear with a furlong left to go and easily pulled away to win by 2 ¾ lengths as the top half of a Bob Baffert exacta.
“This horse has a lot of class,” said jockey Juan Hernandez. “He’s learning a lot, I think he finally learned to run by himself because he broke really quick, and he saw the other two horses in front of me and he just relaxed really well behind him. I was really comfortable the whole race, outside in the clear, that’s where I wanted to be. I was just waiting for the quarter pole to make him run. When we came to the quarter pole, I swung out and asked him to pick it up, he switched leads and we got to the wire first.
A $2 million purchase for Zedan at last year’s OBS March 2-Year-Olds In Training Sale, MUTH has proven to be worth the money from the start.
“Zedan Racing, he gives us all this ammo to work with, so it makes it a lot easier on me. He is an incredible guy and he loves the sport, he has a passion for it and that’s the number one thing. He handles the wins and the losses the same way and he let me name this horse after my good friend Aaron Muth, so it is fun for him,” Baffert said.
The juvenile romped in his debut by 8 ¾ lengths last June and won the American Pharoah Stakes (G1) two starts later. Never worse than second in his career, MUTH finished second over this same track in the Breeders’ Cup and was second in the Best Pal Stakes (G3) at Del Mar last Summer as well.