BAFFERT, VAN DYKE SWEEPT GRADE 1 RACES AT LOS ALAMITOS

IMPROBABLE, CHASING YESTERDAY SHINE 

CYPRESS, Calif. — For the second consecutive year, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert won both the Grade I Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity and the Starlet Saturday at Los Alamitos.

Twelve months after becoming the first trainer to win the two prestigious events – which have been offered since 1981 – for 2-year-olds in the same year, Baffert pulled off the feat again, easily taking the $300,345 Futurity with heavily-favored Improbable and scoring a narrow victory with Chasing Yesterday in the $300,345 Starlet.

The CashCall Futurity score was Baffert’s fifth win in a row in the race – he’s captured them all since the race was moved to Los Alamitos in 2014 – and his 11th in total. He won it six times at Hollywood Park.

A son of City Zip and A.P. Indy mare Rare Event owned by a partnership that includes WinStar Farm LLC, China Horse Club International Ltd. and Starlight Racing, Improbable, the 1-5 choice, avoided trouble on an eventful first turn, was reserved off the early pace set by stablemate Mucho Gusto, took the lead early in the stretch and pulled clear in the final eighth of a mile.

The ownership group is 75% of the group that owned the undefeated Justify, who swept the Triple Crown earlier this year during a whirlwind six-race career that spanned about four months.

Given how Improbable has performed through three starts, the comparisons are inevitably going to begint and the $200,000 colt, who won the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs by 7 ¼ lengths five weeks before his Futurity score, definitely has impressed Baffert.

“He has a long stride just like Justify,’’ he said. “He’s just a smaller version. I’m not saying he’s at Justify’s level yet, but he’s a really good horse.’’

Elliott Walden, the chief executive officer of WinStar Farm, was all smiles after Improbable completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.18.

“(Baffert) has liked this horse all along,’’ said Walden. “When Justify went to the farm this summer, Bob put Improbable in his stall. I loved his race today. The best thing about it was the last eighth of a mile and the way he galloped out.

“That gives you hope for the future and that’s what we’re all looking for going towards the Spring classics.’’

Improbable, who has banked $269,520, paid $2.40 and $2.10. There was no show wagering.

“We were behind the trouble on the first turn, and to be honest, we benefited because we ended up where we wanted to be, three wide behind the leaders,’’ said winning rider Drayden Van Dyke. “This is just such a cool horse. He hit another gear when we got to the stretch.’’

Mucho Gusto, who was 2-for-2 entering the Futurity, finished three lengths clear of 15-1 shot Extra Hope and returned $2.60.

Savagery, the original fourth place finisher, was disqualified and placed fifth for interference on the first turn. He forced both Extra Hope and Dueling, who had crossed the wire fifth, wide.

“I was really excited about how Mucho Gusto ran,’’ said Baffert. “He tried very hard and just got a little tired. His race was very encouraging.

“We’ll just let these horses come along at their own pace and hope they stay healthy. That’s the key.’’

Making her first start beyond seven furlongs, Chasing Yesterday (left), who was also ridden by Van Dyke, prevailed by a head over 30-1 shot Enaya Alrabb in the Starlet.

Despite a very wide journey, the half-sister to 2015 Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year American Pharoah was able to score for the fourth time in five outings and pushed her earnings to $324,250.

The 3-2 favorite, Chasing Yesterday, who is by Tapit and out of the Yankee Gentleman mare Littleprincessemma, paid $5, $3.80 and $2.80 while completing the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.59.

Mother Mother, the other Baffert trainee and pacesetter, finished third, a neck behind Enaya Alrabb, who making her first start since defeating maidens going one mile Oct. 25, as the 5-2 third choice.

Enaya Alrabb, who was ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith, paid $15.80 and $4.60 while the show price on Mother Mother was $2.80.

“We thought Mother Mother would be on the lead and I told (jockey Florent Geroux) just to try to nurse her along,’’ said Baffert. “(Chasing Yesterday) was so wide.

“Turning for home I really thought Mother Mother was going to kick on and keep going. It was a really thrilling finish. I didn’t think the winner was going to get there because she had been so wide. It’s pretty nice to get a Grade I win with American Pharoah’s (half) sister.’’

Van Dyke became the second jockey to win the Futurity and Starlet in the same year. Hall of Famer Kent Desormeaux completed the parlay in 1997, taking the Futurity with the Baffert-trained Real Quiet and the Starlet with Love Lock.

“Those two other fillies (Enaya Alrabb and Mother Mother) both ran super, but my filly dug in and just kept coming,’’ said Van Dyke. “She really showed us she’s a half-sister to American Pharoah. Winning two Grade I races in the same day is amazing.’’

Completing the order of finish were Tempted winner Oxy Lady, Sold It and Vibrance, the 2-1 second choice.

Racing resumes Sunday at Los Alamitos. Post time is 12:30 p.m.

Los Alamitos Thoroughbred Daily Results and Activity

Results

Friday, December 7
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Maiden Claiming – $20,000 $15,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 2 Starter Allowance – $25,000 $25,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 3 Claiming – $6,250 $12,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 4 Starter Allowance – $25,000 $25,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 5 Maiden Claiming – $30,000 $17,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 6 Maiden Special Weight $40,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 7 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $45,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 8 Maiden Claiming – $50,000 $21,000 Overnight Overnight



Final Entries

Sunday, December 9
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Claiming – $16,000 $17,000
Race 2 Claiming – $8,000 $14,000
Race 3 Maiden Special Weight $40,000
Race 4 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $45,000
Race 5 Maiden Claiming – $50,000 $21,000
Race 6 Claiming – $32,000 $30,000
Race 7 Claiming – $16,000 $17,000
Race 8 Allowance Optional Claiming – $20,000 $45,000
Race 9 Claiming – $8,000 $14,000

CASHCALL FUTURITY, STARLET HIGHLIGHT SATURDAY AT LOS ALAMITOS

CYPRESS, Calif. — Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who became the first trainer to win the Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity and the Starlet in the same year in 2017, will try to duplicate the feat Saturday.

Baffert, who won the Futurity with McKinzie – after the disqualification of stablemate Solomini – and the Starlet with Dream Tree a year ago, will have two representatives in each of the Grade I events for 2-year-olds to be offered for the fifth time at Los Alamitos.

Baffert, who has won the Starlet – which is restricted to fillies – four times, is scheduled to run Chasing Yesterday and Mother Mother in that race after sending out Improbable (left photo by Zoe Metz) and Mucho Gusto in the Futurity, a race he has captured 10 times, including all four at Los Alamitos.

Both the Starlet and CashCall Futurity were run previously at Hollywood Park (1981-2013).

Post time Saturday is 12:30 p.m. The Futurity is the fifth of nine races and has a scheduled post time of 2:28 p.m. while the Starlet goes about one hour later as the seventh race.

Won previously by stars such as Snow Chief, A.P. Indy, Best Pal, Real Quiet, Point Given, Lookin At Lucky and Shared Belief, the CashCall Futurity is part of the “Road to the Kentucky Derby’’ series. Saturday’s winner will receive 10 points towards securing a spot in the starting gate May 4, 2019 at Churchill Downs.

The Starlet, whose past winners include Althea, Very Subtle, Goodbye Halo, Sardula, Serena’s Song, Surfside, Blind Luck, Take Charge Brandi and Abel Tasman,  is part of the “Road to the Kentucky Oaks’’ series. The winner Saturday will receive 10 points towards earning a berth in the Kentucky Oaks next May 3 in Louisville.

FIFTH RACE Probable Post 2:28 PST 
1 1/16 Miles. 2-Year-Olds. LosAlFut (Grade 1). Purse: $300,000

 PP   HORSE   PR. RIDER   WT.   COMMENTS   PR.ODDS 

 1   Improbable   Van Dyke D    120       6-5 
 6   Mucho Gusto   Talamo J    120       3-1 
 5   Extra Hope   Prat F    120       7-2 
 3   Dueling   Smith M E    120       6-1 
 2   Savagery   Geroux F    120       8-1 
 4   King of Speed   Desormeaux K J    120       15-1 
SEVENTH RACE Probable Post 3:28 PST 
1 1/16 Miles. 2-Year-Olds. Fillies. Starlet (Grade 1). Purse: $300,000

 PP   HORSE   PR. RIDER   WT.   COMMENTS   PR.ODDS 

 6   Chasing Yesterday   Van Dyke D    120       9-5 
 2   Mother Mother   Geroux F    120       2-1 
 1   Vibrance   Prat F    120       5-2 
 4   Oxy Lady   Cannon D    120       5-1 
 5   Enaya Alrabb   Smith M E    120       12-1 
 3   Sold It   Gutierrez Mario    120       20-1 

Los Alamitos Thoroughbred Daily Results and Activity

Results

Thursday, December 6
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Claiming – $6,250 $12,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 2 Waiver Claiming – $16,000 $17,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 3 Claiming – $12,500 $16,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 4 Maiden Special Weight $40,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 5 Maiden Claiming – $50,000 $21,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 6 Starter Allowance – $8,000 $15,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 7 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $45,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 8 Maiden Claiming – $30,000 $17,000 Overnight Overnight



Early Entries

Sunday, December 9 Overnight
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Claiming – $16,000 $17,000
Race 2 Claiming – $8,000 $14,000
Race 3 Maiden Special Weight $40,000
Race 4 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $45,000
Race 5 Maiden Claiming – $50,000 $21,000
Race 6 Claiming – $32,000 $30,000
Race 7 Claiming – $16,000 $17,000
Race 8 Allowance Optional Claiming – $20,000 $45,000
Race 9 Claiming – $8,000 $14,000

Final Entries

Saturday, December 8
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Claiming – $12,500 $16,000
Race 2 Maiden Special Weight $40,000
Race 3 Maiden Claiming – $20,000 $15,000
Race 4 Claiming – $6,250 $12,000
Race 5 Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity $300,000
Race 6 Starter Allowance – $8,000 $15,000
Race 7 Starlet S. $300,000
Race 8 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $45,000
Race 9 Maiden Claiming – $20,000 $15,000

Los Alamitos Thoroughbred Daily Results and Activity

Early Entries

Friday, December 7 Overnight
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Maiden Claiming – $20,000 $15,000
Race 2 Starter Allowance – $25,000 $25,000
Race 3 Claiming – $6,250 $12,000
Race 4 Starter Allowance – $25,000 $25,000
Race 5 Maiden Claiming – $30,000 $17,000
Race 6 Maiden Special Weight $40,000
Race 7 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $45,000
Race 8 Maiden Claiming – $50,000 $21,000
Saturday, December 8 Overnight
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Claiming – $12,500 $16,000
Race 2 Maiden Special Weight $40,000
Race 3 Maiden Claiming – $20,000 $15,000
Race 4 Claiming – $6,250 $12,000
Race 5 Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity $300,000
Race 6 Starter Allowance – $8,000 $15,000
Race 7 Starlet S. $300,000
Race 8 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $45,000
Race 9 Maiden Claiming – $20,000 $15,000

Final Entries

Friday, December 7
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Maiden Claiming – $20,000 $15,000
Race 2 Starter Allowance – $25,000 $25,000
Race 3 Claiming – $6,250 $12,000
Race 4 Starter Allowance – $25,000 $25,000
Race 5 Maiden Claiming – $30,000 $17,000
Race 6 Maiden Special Weight $40,000
Race 7 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $45,000
Race 8 Maiden Claiming – $50,000 $21,000

Los Alamitos Thoroughbred Daily Results and Activity

Early Entries

Friday, December 7 Overnight
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Maiden Claiming – $20,000 $15,000
Race 2 Starter Allowance – $25,000 $25,000
Race 3 Claiming – $6,250 $12,000
Race 4 Starter Allowance – $25,000 $25,000
Race 5 Maiden Claiming – $30,000 $17,000
Race 6 Maiden Special Weight $40,000
Race 7 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $45,000
Race 8 Maiden Claiming – $50,000 $21,000

Final Entries

Thursday, December 6
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Claiming – $6,250 $12,000
Race 2 Claiming – $16,000 $17,000
Race 3 Claiming – $12,500 $16,000
Race 4 Maiden Special Weight $40,000
Race 5 Maiden Claiming – $50,000 $21,000
Race 6 Starter Allowance – $8,000 $15,000
Race 7 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $45,000
Race 8 Maiden Claiming – $30,000 $17,000

CASHCALL FUTURITY, STARLET HIGHLIGHT THOROUGHBRED WINTER STAKES SCHEDULE

CYPRESS, Calif. — Four stakes for 2-year-olds – including a pair of Grade I races – highlight the upcoming Winter Thoroughbred meet at Los Alamitos. The eight-day season will begin Thursday, Dec. 6 and continue through Sunday, Dec. 16.

The $300,000-guaranteed Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity and the $300,000-guaranteed Starlet – for fillies – will be renewed on Saturday, Dec. 8. Won a year ago –via disqualification – by the Bob Baffert-trained McKinzie (left), the Futurity – like the Starlet – will be contested at 1 1/16 miles.

Among the nominees to the Futurity, are double Grade I winner Game Winner, King of Speed, a two-time stakes winner on turf for trainer Jeff Bonde, and first out Los Alamitos winner Mucho Gusto.

Nominees for the Starlet, which was won a year ago by the Baffert-trained Dream Tree, include Del Mar Debutante and Chandelier winner Bellafina, Chasing Yesterday, who won the Anoakia Stakes Oct. 14, and Barretts Debutante heroine Kim K.

 

The other two stakes will be run at one mile and are ungraded. The $100,000 Soviet Problem – for fillies – will be offered Saturday, Dec. 15 while the $100,000 King Glorious will be run Sunday, Dec. 16. Both are for 2-year-olds bred or sired in California.

 

The complete stakes schedule:

 

Date                Race                                                Distance                    Purse

Sat, Dec. 8   The Starlet (GI)                                 1 1/16th Miles             $300,000

2-Year-Old Fillies

 

Sat, Dec. 8   Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity (GI)   1 1/16th Miles              $300,000

2-Year-Olds

 

Sat, Dec. 15  Soviet Problem Stakes                            One Mile               $100,000

2-Year-Old Fillies  (California bred or sired)

 

Sun, Dec. 16  King Glorious Stakes                             One Mile                $100,000

2-Year-Old Colts & Geldings (California bred or sired)

LOS ALAMITOS FALL MEET ENDS

CYPRESS, Calif. –Apprentice jockey Heriberto Figueroa earned his second consecutive Los Alamitos riding title while Hall of Famer Bob Baffert and Peter Miller shared training honors as the Los Angeles County Fair meet concluded Sunday.

The 12-day season was highlighted by an 80-1 upset by Shades of Victory in the E.B. Johnston Stakes, an impressive return for Gas Station Sushi in the Beverly J. Lewis, a first Los Alamitos stakes win for Figueroa with Kim K in the Barretts Debutante, a stylish debut score by Galilean in the Barretts Juvenile and a 16th daytime thoroughbred stakes success for Baffert with favored Dabster in the inaugural Los Alamitos Special.

The 18-year-old Figueroa, who was co-leader with fellow apprentice Assael Espinoza at the Summer Thoroughbred Festival earlier in the year, finished the LACF meet with 15 victories, two more than Espinoza and four ahead of Tiago Pereira.

Baffert and Miller finished with six victories. The title was the seventh Baffert has either shared or won outright at Los Alamitos since daytime thoroughbred racing returned in July, 2014. It was the third Miller has either shared or won outright.

A 4-year-old son of Thorn Song, Shades of Victory, who was claimed for $12,500 by owner-trainer Reed Saldana April 7 at Golden Gate Fields, led throughout in the Sept. 8 Johnston, holding off B Squared by a head with favored Edwards Going Left another head back in third.

The win mutuel of $162.60 was the second largest since daytime thoroughbred racing returned to Los Alamitos in July, 2014, surpassed only by Devils Triangle, who paid $185.80 Dec. 11, 2016.

Shades of Victory’s shocking upset also triggered a record daily double payoff. His win was followed by an 18-1 surprise by Marrazano and the $2 double coupling those two was worth $5,223.60.

Making her first start in four months, favored Gas Station Sushi cruised to a six-length victory in the Lewis for a partnership that includes Riley Racing Stables LLC and Tiger Racing Stable and trainer Richard Baltas. With the score under jockey Mario Gutierrez, the Into Mischief filly may have earned a return trip to Keeneland for the Grade II, $250,000 Lexus Raven Run at seven furlongs. Gas Station Sushi is 1-for-1 at the Lexington track, having captured the Grade III Beaumont April 8.

Figueroa, 18, guided Kim K, a maiden who had finished fifth in her Sept. 2 debut, to a three-length victory in the Sept. 15 Debutante for Miller and Gary Hartunian’s Rockingham Ranch.

A $600,000 purchase at the Barretts sale in April by a partnership that includes West Point Thoroughbreds, Galilean pressed a quick pace and held off Seven Scents to win by a neck in the Juvenile. Drayden Van Dyke rode the son of Uncle Mo for Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

Stretching to 10 furlongs for the first time in his career, Dabster, the 8-5 choice, prevailed by two lengths and completed the distance in 2:00.45. The final time was a track record, but 10 furlongs had been run only once previously at Los Alamitos. Wings of Mojave scored in 2:03.57 Sept. 13, 2015.

Owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum, Dabster, by virtue of his Sept. 16 win, may have earned himself a start in the Grade II Marathon Stakes Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs.

In terms of business, all sources handle for the 12-day LACF season increased 5% over the 2017 meet.

Thoroughbred racing will return to Los Alamitos Thursday, Dec. 6 with the start of the eight-day Winter meet.

Racing will be conducted on a Thursday-Sunday basis through Sunday, Dec. 16. The season will be highlighted by a pair of Grade I races for 2-year-olds – the $300,000 Starlet for fillies and the $300,000 Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity. Both will be run Saturday, Dec. 8.

Los Alamitos Thoroughbred Daily Results and Activity

Results

Sunday, September 23
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Maiden Special Weight $40,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 2 Claiming – $6,250 $12,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 3 Claiming – $8,000 $14,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 4 Claiming – $32,000 $30,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 5 Claiming – $6,250 $12,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 6 Maiden Claiming – $20,000 $15,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 7 Starter Allowance – $8,000 $15,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 8 Allowance Optional Claiming – $20,000 $45,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 9 Allowance Optional Claiming – $20,000 $45,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 10 Maiden Claiming – $20,000 $15,000 Overnight Overnight