The now four-year-old Abel Tasman may have fallen just short in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff to close out her year, but that certainly didn’t stop her from reigning as the most dominant in her class. The well regarded daughter of Quality Road took home the Eclipse Award for the 2017 3 Year Old Filly, and is maturing right before the eyes of her trainer. It’s a busy time of year for the legendary Bob Baffert, but he took some time to reflect on her wonderful talent.
“I remember when we took her to Churchill Downs for the Oaks, she was acting like a green two-year-old—just looking and weaving and looking at everything,” Baffert recounted. “And then we galloped her with blinkers the rest of the week just to keep her focused. She just needed a little focusing…because she brings it every time.”
No other three-year-old filly had a season quite like Abel Tasman. She went 3-4-0 in seven starts through the year with major victories in the Kentucky Oaks, Acorn and the Coaching Club of America Oaks. With just over $1.95 million in career earnings, the filly is well on her way to an illustrious career and Baffert knows that it will be best for him to pick his spots wisely. There’s no rush.
“She looked great today, that was nothing for her,” Baffert said regarding Abel Tasman’s efforts in recent trainings. “Just trying to get back to work and maybe look for something in the spring with her.” The trainer also likened her to a certain icon. “She actually reminds me a lot of (Triple Crown winner) American Pharoah because she’s so smart. And she tries hard every time, that’s what we love about her. That’s the thing with the good ones, they try hard every time.”
While Baffert didn’t rule out any particular destination to begin her 2018 campaign, he did mention the preference for Abel Tasman. “She runs really well on those East Coast-type tracks,” Baffert said. “She likes a deeper track. She runs well here, but California is really a speed-laden type of track. But she’ll run anywhere though.”
Wherever she runs, fans will most certainly be watching.