Los Alamitos Futurity ... Runners Guide

The Grade 2 Los Alamitos Futurity is upon us ... check out this preview for Saturday's contest!
The Grade 2 Los Alamitos Futurity is upon us ... check out this preview for Saturday's contest!

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Race 9: 1 1/16th (Dirt), Los Alamitos Futurity (G1), Purse $300k, 2 (Saturday)

Since this contest moved from Hollywood Park (nothing but a memory, sadly) in 2014, this race has literally been owned by one trainer, Bob Baffert. It started with Dortmund, then Mor Spirit, then Mastery, then McKinzie, then Improbable, then Thousand Words, and finally last year, we had Spielberg. Each was special, and some went on to international stardom. Of course, even when the race was held in Inglewood, Baffert still had 6 victories. So, suffice it to say, he probably is once again the favorite to win. However, despite this being a Kentucky Derby Points Race (10-4-2-1), the HOF conditioner will not be able to collect those this time around, since he is facing a two-year ban by Churchill Downs. It remains to be seen if that will be challenged in some type of judicial proceeding, but for now it stands. Will Baffert win again?

Now, let’s find out about this field…

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#1 Olympic Legend (Jky: J. Valdivia/Trn: L. Mendez):

Trainer Luis Mendez hoped that his Street Boss colt would outrun his odds of 54/1 in the Del Mar Futurity (G1). That was a major step forward after winning at Los Al in a MSW45k race back in late June, where he actually bested Baffert’s #3 at odds of 11/1. After the DMR excursion, Mendez tried to recalibrate once again @LRC in a “Non-G” Sept. event, but that result was a 3rd place finish—9 lengths back. Now, he is sending his runner into an even tougher contest … Baffert and O’Neill’s uncoupled pair await … This is just too tough a class hike to surmount, and I doubt seriously that Jose Valdivia is going to be able to make a difference.

Grade: C

 

#2 Durante (Jky: U. Rispoli/Trn: D. O’Neill):

Team Roadrunner has invested in a nice colt by Distorted Humor who looks capable. I say that based on his frontrunning score in a MSW70k contest back at Del Mar in mid-November. Now, O’Neill wants to see if he is ready for some much tougher competition. Granted, his colt has faced the likes of Baffert’s #4 back at Santa Anita in mid-October in a MSW61k going 1 Mile. Maybe a different result will come along this time? The best news of all is that Umberto Rispoli gets the keys once again, and his numbers look incredibly stout. What a year this fellow has had … 664 mounts w/19% winning clip … He is going to need all the early speed he can get because it is going to be a barnburner.

Grade: B

 

#3 Messier (Jky: F. Prat/Trn: B. Baffert):

Here is a top prospect for the HOF trainer, and with SF Racing et.al behind you, that stokes even more confidence in this son of Empire Maker. Since October this colt was flawless in a pair of races. Baffert sent him to Santa Anita, and once the 6F were in that MSW61k, his runner was the victor by 6+ lengths. Flavien Prat was aboard, and he took the controls once again in the Bob Hope (G3) at Del Mar in mid-November. That was not quite a romp, but 3+ lengths is still pretty strong. In all of these races, this colt was well-bet … no surprise. I would expect him to win with all those late gears, even against such a formidable stablemate as #4. His fitness is sound, and we would expect nothing less from the King of SoCal Racing, who goes “blinkers on” … for effect, I suppose.

Grade: A-

 

#4 Barossa (Jky: JJ. Hernandez/Trn: B. Baffert):

The other half of this uncoupled entry, is yet another SF Racing et.al-owned sort. With 4 career races to his name, this well-bred colt by super sire Into Mischief was really up against it down at Del Mar in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). Baffert’s real ace, Corniche, was dominant, while at odds of 19/1 his “other” colt finished 9th out of 11. There is no question as to this one’s talent, but jockey Juan Hernandez is going to have to ask him for more in the stretch. He must respond … The other Baffert entry in this race has major power, and I have to wonder if this SF Racer has what it takes … Will definitely be the better value of the 2 from the HOF-er’s barn.

Grade: B

 

#5 Slow Down Andy (Jky: M. Gutierrez/Trn: D. O’Neill):

The purple and white of Reddam Racing reigned supreme with Nyquist in the 2016 KYD. We forgive jockey Mario Gutierrez for his choice to take the prize colt out on the lead in the Preakness … tsk, tsk. Flashing forward to late 2021, the connections now have a son of Nyquist entered into this spot. I think O’Neill will have him ready, and I would not be surprised if he runs a fabulous race. I don’t know if he can best Baffert’s best runner, but he does have a pair of starts that were quite successful. The only aspect that bothers me is the fact that the colt gave way late in the Golden State Juvenile 175k at Del Mar last out. You always want to see your horse finish strong and gallop out. That didn’t happen, but maybe Gutierrez can make some solid choices. We shall see …

Grade: B+

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Join us Saturday for all of Editor Neil’s Los Alamitos selections! Should be a great set of races from SoCal!

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Los Alamitos Race Course Race 9 15:58 ET

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