Mastery wins the Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity (Photo by Benoit Photography)
5 Fast Facts about the Los Alamitos Futurity, a Road to the Kentucky Derby prep-race
- Run for the first time in 1981, the race began its life as the Hollywood Futurity and was run at Hollywood Park over 1 1/16 miles for all but six editions in the late 1980s. Sponsored by CashCall since 2007, it was moved to Los Alamitos in 2014 after the closure of Hollywood Park.
- The very first Futurity in 1981 began as the second-richest race in the country at $715,000, behind only the Arlington Million, and it fell to 3-1 favorite Stalwart. It also featured the next season’s Derby winner, though it wouldn’t have been obvious from the race; the following year’s 21-1 winner of the Run for the Roses, Gato Del Sol, was back in seventh place.
- Since its 1981 inception, the Futurity has been one of the better guides to the next season’s Triple Crown races. Five winners of the race went on to win Classics the next year, and another seven horses that started in the race without winning also became Classic winners. Between them these 12 won 16 Classics.
- When Snow Chief strode away for a very easy victory in the 1985 Hollywood Futurity, he became well fancied for the Kentucky Derby. By the time the race came, he was the favorite at even money, but he finished 11th of 16. The horse people should have paid attention to in the Futurity was the battling third-place finisher, Ferdinand. Snow Chief showed his Derby effort didn’t reflect his ability by beating Ferdinand in the Preakness.
- History suggests that punters looking for a winner should first look at the stable of Bob Baffert, who has a strike rate similar to that of Aidan O’Brien has in many top-level Irish races. Baffert has won the race nine times since his first success in 1997, including six of the last nine renewals, and each of the last three.