Cezanne’s potential as a Kentucky Derby contender will be further revealed on Thursday when the Bob Baffert-trained 3-year-old enters the Los Alamitos Race Course gate for his second career race.
A $3.65 million purchase and one of the loudest buzz horses on the Kentucky Derby Trail, Cezanne is the 4/5 morning line favorite for a $45,000 allowance optional claiming race. He’ll go a mile on the dirt against four other horses, including stablemate Bronn, in Los Alamitos’ fifth race.
The two Baffert stablemates occupy different ends of the Kentucky Derby futures pool. At Circa Sports, Cezanne is 13/1 while Bronn is +35,000 to win the Sept. 5 Run for the Roses. Cezanne closed at 19/1 on the most recent Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool. His Baffert stablemates, Authentic (+595) and Uncle Chuck (16/1), reside in Cezanne’s probability neighborhood.
Authentic closed at 11/1 and Uncle Chuck at 13/1 in that just-closed KDFW fifth pool.
Cezanne currently sits at -2,400 in Circa’s “No” pool, meaning you’re laying 24/1 if you don’t think Cezanne will win the Derby. Authentic is -990 not to win the Derby, while Uncle Chuck is -3,000.
Belmont Stakes champion Tiz the Law is your current favorite at +285.
Cezanne Painted a Clear Picture in His Debut
Even before he won his June 6 debut as the 2/5 favorite in a maiden special weight race at Santa Anita Park, Cezanne wasn’t a complete mystery to bettors. He opened on Circa’s board at 55/1 and within 48 hours, horseplayers pummeled his odds down to 25/1. They got as low as 12/1 at Circa after Cezanne took over his debut race on the turn, found a nice alley in the two-path, and cruised home by 2 ¼ lengths.
The buzz around Cezanne is two-fold. First, he went for that eye-popping price at Fasig-Tipton’s select sale of 2-year-olds in training. A consortium of Coolmore Stud principals Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith joined St. Elias Stables in purchasing the Curlin progeny. So there’s price and pedigree.
Then, there’s Baffert, who comes with a baked-in odds premium on any 3-year-old he trains. Winning five Kentucky Derbies, seven Preakness Stakes, and three Belmont Stakes – along with two Triple Crowns in four years – means Baffert gets instant respect with horseplayers and the public.
As Circa Sports Risk Supervisor Paul Zilm told OG News earlier this month, “Baffert horses are always going to have interest. If Cezanne was trained by Joe Q. Sample, there’s no way he’d be 15/1. But there’s always some public interest when you have Baffert’s name attached to a horse.”
Gauging Cezanne’s Route Potential
Baffert originally planned on running Cezanne at Del Mar, but decided to tackle Thursday’s allowance because it’s a two-turn mile. That should prep Cezanne for a two-turn stakes race for his next start. That’s a good idea, considering Cezanne has zero Derby qualifying points with the Derby barely two months out.
Meanwhile, Thursday’s race — with top jockey Flavien Prat aboard Cezanne — won’t offer much value from a win standpoint. Considering that he’s facing three claiming-level rivals and a rusty Bronn – who hasn’t run since breaking his maiden at Los Alamitos last September – Cezanne’s odds could be worse than in his 2/5 debut.
But the buzz, the eyes of Derby bettors, and curious Baffert devotees won’t care.