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Submitted by John Conte on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 12:00 AM

Belmont Park: Baffert targeting Haskell Invitational with Power Broker


ELMONT, N.Y. – Bob Baffert has found his Haskell horse.

Despite being a non-factor in this year’s Triple Crown – his only runner, Govenor Charlie, finished next-to-last in the Preakness – Baffert could be a presence in the second half of the 3-year-old season with Power Broker.

On Saturday, Power Broker won his second straight race, a pace-prompting 3 3/4-length victory in the $150,000 Easy Goer Stakes at Belmont Park. Power Broker was coming off an allowance win at Churchill four weeks earlier.

On Sunday, Baffert said Power Broker would be pointed to the $1 million Haskell Invitational on July 28 at Monmouth Park, a race the Hall of Fame trainer has won six times in the last 12 years, including the last three years.

“I’m thinking Haskell with him,” Baffert said. “I was going to think about the Dwyer, but I just ran him twice pretty close. He’s a horse that’s just filling out. I finally got him going the right way again. I don’t want to take a step back.”

At 2, Power Broker won just once from five starts, but the win came as a maiden in the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita. He ended his 2-year-old campaign with a fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He didn’t make his 3-year-old debut until the Santa Anita Derby, where he finished a well-beaten fifth.

Power Broker, who earned a 99 Beyer Speed Figure for his Easy Goer effort, returned to Southern California on Sunday along with Zee Bros, who finished fifth in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens for 3-year-old sprinters Saturday. Baffert said he was going to give Zee Bros “a little freshening.” Zee Bros won the Chick Lang Stakes at Pimlico on May 18.

Baffert said he left Grade 2 True North Handicap winner Fast Bullet in New York for now “because there’s nothing for him” in California.

Fast Bullet came off a six-month layoff to win Saturday’s True North by 2 1/2 lengths over fellow Zayat Stable-owned runner Justin Phillip. He ran six furlongs in 1:08.27 and earned a 110 Beyer.

Baffert did not mention a next race for Fast Bullet, but one likely candidate is the Grade 1, $400,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt at Saratoga on Aug. 4.

In reference to the fact that the 5-year-old Fast Bullet has made only five career starts, Baffert said, “I got to make every one count.”

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