Klimt scores in Best Pal

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Jen Caldwell

August 14th, 2016

Kaleem Shah Inc.’s Klimt parlayed a 5 1/4-length maiden victory at Santa Anita Park July 10 into a graded score at Del Mar on Saturday.

The Bob Baffert-trained son of Quality Road dueled with Big League in the stretch of the $200,345 Best Pal Stakes (G2) under jockey Rafael Bejarano before drawing off in upper stretch to win by 2 3/4 lengths.

Big League set the opening half-mile marks of :23.26 and :46.03 while pressed by Klimt just to his outside. Klimt found himself four wide rounding the turn but that didn’t stop the colt from sticking his head in front through six furlongs in 1:09.88.

Big League battled back on the inside, but Klimt proved too good in the end, stopping the clock in 1:16.11 for 6 1/2 furlongs over Del Mar’s fast main track.

Klimt paid $4 for the win as the even-money favorite. Big League had 3 1/4 lengths to spare on Thirstforlife, while Rinse and Repeat filled out the fourth spot another 4 1/4 lengths behind. Secret House and Drafted completed the order under the wire.

Klimt finished fourth in his career opener at Santa Anita on June 25, but returned a little over two weeks later to earn his first win. The bay juvenile is now 3-2-0-0 and has banked $156,960 in lifetime earnings.

Bred in Kentucky by Thor-Bred Stables LLC, Klimt sold for $140,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling before bringing $435,000 as an OBS March two-year-old in training earlier this year. He is out of the multiple stakes-placed Dixie Union mare Inventive, making him a half-brother to this season’s Vagrancy Handicap (G3) runner-up West Coast Chick.

Klimt’s third dam is the Grade 3-winning Broad Brush mare Tennis Lady, who is a full sister to 1994 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) hero, Preakness Stakes (G1) third and $3 million earner Concern.

Klimt photo courtesy of Benoit Photos


Rafael Bejarano, jockey Klimt, winner: “This horse is strong. He’s been working so well. I’ve been on him in the mornings and he was working great. He relaxed for me today and finished well. The way he finished, going to six and a half (furlongs) today (after earlier races at five and five and one-half furlongs), he’ll definitely run on.”

Norberto Arroyo Jr., jockey Big League, second: “I didn’t even ask him last time (maiden victory in his first start July 30 at Del Mar). That was like a workout. I knew he’d have to face this moment today though (stiff competition) and he responded well to it. He got a little tired, but it was a good race for him. With this one under him, he’ll run a lot better next time. That horse (winner Klimt) won’t beat him next time.”

Joe Talamo, jockey Thirstforlife, third: “It was a good race for him. He ran well. He’ll want to run on. He showed that today.”

Bob Baffert, trainer Klimt, winner: “I was disappointed (with his first start) and thought that maybe he’s just a grass horse. But he came back, won his next one, and he’s worked really well here. He’s always shown that he’s a horse that’s going to go farther. It was a good race, they didn’t go too fast. The kind of race you want to see. The ($300,000 Del Mar) Futurity ([G1] on closing day, September 5) is next. That’s the plan.”