Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has a thing for futurities. The four-time Kentucky Derby (G1) winning trainer has won Del Mar's juvenile showcase 13 times, and on Saturday will attempt to win the $300,000 Los Alamitos Futurity (G1), which began life at the now-shuttered Hollywood Park, for a 10th time.
Despite all the success in the Hollywood/Los Alamitos version, the only one to emerge as a Kentucky Derby winner was Real Quiet in 1998. There have been other goods one, though, including beaten Derby favorites Point Given and Lookin at Lucky, and the less-than-lucky Mastery last year.
Baffert saddles two of the five colts in the 1 1/16-mile race on Saturday, with McKinzie likely a strong favorite. Named for the late Los Alamitos executive Brad McKinzie, a friend of Baffert's who died last summer, the son of Street Sense debuted impressively in late October, romping by 5 1/2 lengths in a seven -furlong maiden at Santa Anita.
Baffert's other entry is more battle-tested. Solomini also won on debut, at Del Mar in early September, before running a distant second to Bolt d'Oro in the FrontRunner (G1) and second again to Good Magic in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1).
Jerry Hollendorfer, the last trainer not named Bob Baffert to win the Los Alamitos centerpiece, sends out Instilled Regard, who broke his maiden in his third try in late October at Santa Anita over 1 1/16 miles. The Hollendorfer-trained Shared Belief clinched champion juvenile honors with a score in this race back in 2013.
Runaway Ghost, a Santa Anita graduate way back in June, exits a 7 1/2-length win in the $55,000 Golden Nugget, a six-furlong dash over the Tapeta at Golden Gate Fields. Rounding out the quintet is For Him, a maiden claiming grad over a mile at Del Mar and last-out fourth-place finisher in the $101,000 Zuma Beach over the Santa Anita turf.
As part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby Series, all but one of the starters will earn some qualifying points for next May's Run for the Roses. Points of 10-4-2-1 will be awarded to the top four finishers.
The Los Alamitos Futurity goes as the third race on the card and can be watched and wagered on at TwinSpires.com.
(Zoe Metz/Clocker's Corner photo)