EQUIPMENT CHANGE AIDS BAFFERT 3-YEAR-OLD CONCORD POINT IN RETURN TO WINNER’S CIRCLE

ARCADIA, Calif. (April 14, 2010) – Concord Point, whose blazing career debut last December for trainer Bob Baffert had suggested Triple Crown potential, recouped some of his earlier promise Wednesday with a gritty 1 ¼-length victory in Santa Anita’s $46,676 allowance feature for 3-year-olds at 6 ½ furlongs.

With jockey Martin Garcia gaining his third win of the afternoon, Concord Point gamely withstood late challenges by Royce and favored Lions Story to run the distance in 1:15.38 while racing without blinkers for the first time in three starts. Royce nosed out Lions Story for the place.

“I’ve got to get him to relax a little bit,” Baffert said in explaining his colt’s equipment change. Following a maiden win in 1:15 for 6 ½ furlongs, Concord Point went to the sidelines for seven weeks before returning to run fourth as the 1-2 favorite in a sprint on Feb. 12.

“That was a throw out,” said Baffert. “He broke a little slow and took off.”

The gray son of Tapit was much more focused and resolute on Wednesday. He dueled with longshot Malone Slam for the early lead, but the fractions were manageable: 22.25, 45.26 and 1:09.22.

Concord Point took command on the far turn, spurted clear in midstretch and was never seriously threatened in the final sixteenth.

“Mr Bob (Baffert) decided to take the blinkers off today,” Garcia said, “and he relaxed a little better. He finished good. When he was a baby, the blinkers were okay. But as he grew up, he got a little rank, so this worked out good.”

Concord Point paid $6, $4.40 and $2.60. Royce, ridden by Mike Smith, returned $10 and $4. The show price on Lions Story, with Joel Rosario in the irons, was $2.20.

The winning purse of $27,600 increased the earnings of Concord Point to $56,760 for Kaleem S. Shah, who had purchased the colt as a yearling for $220,000.

Santa Anita offers an eight-race program on Thursday as it winds down the final week of its 75th anniversary season. First post is at 1 p.m.

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