Baffert, Smith continue to dominate card with Woody Stephens win

ELMONT, N.Y. -- Bob and Mike's big day at Belmont continued in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens Stakes as they teamed up with American Anthem to get the third of their four stakes wins together on the day.

Earlier on the card, trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Mike Smith won both the Grade 1, $700,000 Acorn with Kentucky Oaks winner Abel Tasman and the $150,000 Easy Goer with West Coast. They would reunite later on the Saturday card to win the Grade 1, $1.2 million Metropolitan Handicap with morning-line favorite Mor Spirit. Smith had a solo winner two races prior to the Stephens when he won the Grade 1, $750,000 Ogden Phipps with champion Songbird.

Earlier in the week, Baffert said he was "real happy" with the four horses he was sending to New York to run on the Belmont Stakes undercard and that he'd "like to run the table" with them.

"You always feel that way, of course," Baffert said after the Woody Stephens, "but it's all about good trips and good horses. There's a lot of pressure on a big day like this. You don't want to come in and embarrass yourself."

Smith gave American Anthem a ride very similar to what he did with West Coast in the Easy Goer. He settled American Anthem off the pace in the $500,000 Stephens, then swept to the lead four wide entering the stretch. American Anthem quickly pulled away to win the seven-furlong race for 3-year-olds by 3 1/4 lengths under only moderate pressure.

"Mike has always thought he'd go longer," Baffert said. "The way he sat there and the way he finished I thought was pretty impressive."

American Anthem paid $5.90 as the favorite in the 11-horse field. He was timed in a rapid 1:22.14.