- WinStar Farm owned Country Grammer has been transferred from trainer Bob Baffert to Todd Pletcher.
- Country Grammer won the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup on May 31 at Santa Anita.
- The move to Pletcher opens the possibility that Country Grammer could race in one of several races at Belmont this summer.
While trainer Bob Baffert continues to pursue legal action over the fallout from Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit’s positive post race test the rest of the thoroughbred racing world continues to turn. Pending some type of drastic outcome in Kentucky and/or New York the Hall of Fame trainer remains persona non grata at Churchill Downs, Inc. owned tracks as well as the three tracks operated by the New York Racing Association (NYRA). This means that the stakes race options for the horses in his care are significantly limited.
That appears to be the catalyst behind the just announced decision by WinStar Farm to transfer 4 year old Country Grammer (that’s how they spell it) from Baffert to the barn of Todd Pletcher. The move suggests that Country Grammer could be pointed to one of several races in New York during July and August. Elliott Walden, CEO and racing manager of WinStar, explained the rationale in a text to the Daily Racing Form:
“With the ban on Bob in Kentucky and New York right now, our opportunities are limited to the Pacific Classic in late August. With Improbable last year, we came east and ran in the Whitney which helped him win an Eclipse Award. We are continuing to evaluate the situation with Bob and will adjust as we need to.”
This just about confirms that Country Grammer won’t be racing in the big events during the current Del Mar meet. That would be the Grade 1, $750,000 USD Pacific Classic on August 28 or the Grade 3, $250,000 San Diego on July 17. The races that WinStar’s Walden alluded to in his text are the Grade 2, $400,000 Suburban Stakes on July 3 at Belmont Park or alternately the is the Grade 1, $1 million Whitney on August 7 at Saratoga. Improbable was trained by Baffert and won the 2020 Whitney before going on to claim the Eclipse Award for top older male.
Pletcher had these comments on Country Grammer’s first workout as a member of his barn:
“I thought he went very well, he seemed to be traveling smoothly and did it in hand, galloped out nicely.”
Country Grammer is coming off a win in the $300,000 USD Hollywood Gold Cup at Santa Anita on May 31.