Hall of Fame Trainer Bob Baffert is best known for his powerful main-track runners, but on May 1 at Churchill Downs, one of his victories came in the $500,000 American Turf Stakes Presented by Derby City Gaming (G2T) with Du Jour , a horse owned by his wife, Jill, and Debbie Lanni.
“I was just so happy for Jill because what Jill has to deal with, with me as a trainer and (son) Bode, dragging them through the ups and downs that we’ve been through and all that,” Baffert said. “And for that horse to win today and just listening to her and just the excitement that she finally has something. When I lose a race she just takes the loss like she owns it.
“I’m just thrilled to train a horse for my wife and our good friend Debbie and to win a big race like this on Derby day, it’s pretty exciting,” Baffert added. “I feel like I won the Derby.”
Flavien Prat rode Du Jour in the 3-year-old’s third start when the Temple City colt broke his maiden Feb. 19 going a mile on the Santa Anita Park turf and was aboard again for an allowance optional claiming March 28 over the same course and distance.
Stretched out to 1 1/16 miles Saturday, Du Jour tracked in fifth along the inside under Prat through the first half-mile. Excellent Timing showed the way in the 14-horse field with fractions of :22.86 and :47.31. Du Jour was back in seventh as Next took over to post six furlongs in 1:12.60. He chased behind Winfromwithin , who took over in the stretch, before catching that rival at the sixteenth pole and continuing on for a 1 1/2-length victory. He paid $13.20 for a $2 win wager.
The winner’s time was 1:42.49 on firm turf.
Du Jour (blue shadow roll) wins the American Turf Stakes
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) May 1, 2021
“The key was getting him to relax down inside. I actually sent him quite a bit out of the gate, and then it’s always a question of if they can come back to you after that,” Prat said. “It felt like they were going a good clip up front and that helped him to relax, too. He traveled well and when I asked him to split horses, he did it nicely.”
Agent Donato Lanni purchased Du Jour for $280,000 out of Off the Hook’s consignment to the 2020 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training.
“I didn’t think he was going to bring that much money, and I got caught up in the bidding, and I said, ‘Who am I going to sell him to? Who wants a turf horse? We all want dirt horses,'” Baffert said. “I called Debbie Lanni, who’s been a good friend of ours. I’ve trained for her and her husband (the late Joseph Terrence Lanni). She said, ‘I’m game.'”
Bred in Kentucky by Woods Edge Farm, Du Jour is out of the Bernardini mare Guiltless . The mare’s latest foal is a yearling Twirling Candy filly and she was bred to Not This Time for 2021. Du Jour’s third dam, Baby Zip, was the producer of grade 1 winners and sires Ghostzapper and City Zip.
Du Jour has earned $375,220 from a 3-1-1 record in five starts.