December 2, 2023

Baaeed still perfect after facile Sussex score

Baaeed wins the 2022 Sussex at Goodwood (PA Media)

Baaeed was not fully extended when maintaining his perfect record in Wednesday’s Sussex S. (G1) at Goodwood, his ninth consecutive win and his second this season in a “Win & You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge prep for the Mile (G1).

Though the Mile at Keeneland in November is not the year-end goal for Baaeed, the Shadwell homebred is expected to step up in distance for the first time in next month’s 1 5/16-mile Juddmonte International (G1) at York.

“I am really looking forward to stepping up to 10 furlongs as I think he will enjoy it,” trainer William Haggas said. “I think we’ll go for the Champion (G1) or the Queen Elizabeth II (G1), depending on how he gets on at York.”

Settled near the back in the seven-horse Sussex by regular pilot Jim Crowley, Baaeed was eased outside down the long straight, smoothly reached contention inside the final quarter-mile, and asserted himself under mild encouragement to win by 1 3/4 lengths. The winning time over good-to-firm ground was 1:37.74.

“Baaeed just does what he has to. He is like his sire (Sea The Stars),” Crowley said. “Just before the winning line, he pricked his ears and shut down with me. Baaeed is never going to be exuberant and win by 10 lengths, but the feeling I got off him between the three and the two-furlong pole, no horse can give you that feel.”

Baaeed returned $2.30 in the World Pool. Modern Games, the reigning Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) and French 2000 Guineas (G1) winner, finished second by 1 3/4 lengths over the filly Alcohol Free, the 2021 Sussex winner. The order of finish was rounded out by pacesetter Bathrat Leon, Angel Bleu, Chindit, and Order of Australia, who upset the 2020 edition of the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland.

Although Baaeed is likely to bypass the Breeders’ Cup, trainer Charlie Appleby said Modern Games is aiming for a return trip following his success at Del Mar last fall.

“We have always worked back from the Breeders’ Cup Mile, and that is going to be the plan. I don’t think you will see him now — he will either go to Canada or Keeneland and then you will see him in Kentucky for the Breeders’ Cup Mile,” he said.

Baaeed is 3-for-3 this season, having also taken the Lockinge (G1) at Newbury and Queen Anne (G1) at Royal Ascot. Beginning his career last June, he reeled off six wins during his sophomore campaign, highlighted by a neck score over Palace Pier in the Queen Elizabeth II at Ascot. His other Group victories occurred in the Prix du Moulin (G1) at Longchamp and the Thoroughbred (G3) at Goodwood.

Baaeed is out of the stakes-winning Kingmambo mare Aghareed and is a full brother to this year’s Coronation Cup (G1) winner Hukum. Baaeed’s second dam was 2007 champion turf mare Lahudood.