Baaeed delivered the most exceptional performance of his career to date in Wednesday’s Juddmonte International (G1) at York, drawing off to a 6 1/2-length victory to remain perfect from 10 lifetime starts.
Stepping up in distance beyond a mile for the first time in the 1 5/16-mile event, Baaeed settled near the back of the six-horse field under Jim Crowley. Improving position at the top of the long straight, Baaeed made steady advancement while racing on the bridle, and responded instantaneously when asked by Crowley inside the final quarter-mile. Exploding past second choice Mishriff, who had won the International by six lengths last year, Baaeed bettered that margin in a powerhouse display.
“He is an easy ride and was on it today,” Crowley said. “He is not ground dependent – he is just the perfect racehorse. I’m not joking, I think he could win a (six-furlong) July Cup (G1) up to a mile and a half. He has everything.”
“It was a superlative performance and very satisfying to see him on the bridle a furlong and a half out. It proves he gets the trip,” trainer William Haggas said.
A homebred racing for Shadwell, Baaeed covered the course in 2:09.30 on ground rated good (good-to-firm in places). Baaeed was the 2-5 favorite with English bookmakers, but started at a shorter 1-4 in the pari-mutuel World Pool, paying $2.50 to win for American bettors.
Runner-up Mishriff finished 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Sir Busker, who edged Dubai Honor for third by a head. Native Trail and pacesetter High Definition completed the order of finish.
Although garnering an automatic bid to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) by winning the Juddmonte International, Baaeed will close out his career in the Oct. 15 Champion (G1) at Ascot over 1 1/4 miles.
“He has just got a fabulous engine and a fabulous temperament. And, as I have said a few times, finding me another one is going to be the tricky bit,” Haggas said.
Baaeed is 4-for-4 this season, having also taken the Lockinge (G1) at Newbury, the Queen Anne (G1) at Royal Ascot, and the Sussex (G1) at Goodwood. 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 (G1) at Ascot. His other Group victories occurred in the Prix du Moulin (G1) at Longchamp and the Thoroughbred (G3) at Goodwood.
By Sea the Stars, who counted the International among his six Group 1 wins in a legendary 2009 campaign, 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.