Drill didn't get much respect as the 4-1 third choice in Del Mar's closing day feature, the Grade 1, $250,000 Del Mar Futurity, on Wednesday, but the Bob Baffert trainee pulled out a gutsy neck win over 7-2 second pick Majestic City and 4-5 favorite Creative Cause. It wasn't an easy win, either, as the dark bay colt was knocked sideways by Creative Cause when Majestic City ran into his gray rival.
Drill came running on the outside down the stretch, with Creative Cause putting his best hoof forward and Majestic City to the inside of the pair. Jockey Martin Garcia, who had the mount on Drill, lost his whip at the top of the stretch, but that didn't stop the juvenile colt from giving it his all.
Nearing the wire, David Flores on Majestic City was using left-handed encouragement, causing the chestnut to veer toward the outside. Majestic City rammed into Creative Cause, who checked sharply but not before being forced into Drill's hindquarters.
The winner was knocked off stride hard and bounced back into Creative Cause, but all three managed to stay on their feet, with Drill finishing a neck in front of Majestic City, who was in turn three parts of a length up on Creative Cause on the wire. Once the stewards reviewed the video, Majestic City was disqualified to third for the incident and Creative Cause elevated to second.
Despite all the drama of the lost whip and powerful knock he took just strides from the wire, Drill stopped the clock in 1:22 for seven furlongs over the Polytrack. Campaigned by Michael Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, he paid $10.40, $5.20 and $3.40 for boosting his earnings to $188,150.
Gun Boat, who led on the backstretch through splits of :23, :45 3/5 and 1:09 3/5, held for fourth another while just a nose behind Creative Cause on the line. It was another half-length back to Basmati, who was followed under the wire by Sheer Talent, Corsa Di Cavalli and Mighty Monsoon.
Unlike Creative Cause and Majestic City, who were each seeking to maintain perfect records, Drill entered the Del Mar Futurity having dropped his initial start. The colt ran eighth in his career debut, but rebounded in a big way to break his maiden just 14 days later by a neck while going 6 1/2 furlongs on August 13 last out. Bred in Kentucky by Stonewall Farm Stallions, he passed through the sales ring twice, RNAing as a Keeneland November weanling before bringing $300,000 as a Keeneland September yearling.
Drill is by Lawyer Ron and out of the winning Storm Cat mare Cat Dancer, who has since produced a yearling full brother to the Del Mar Futurity conqueror and a 2011 filly by Strong Contender. Cat Dancer is herself a full sister to Magic Storm, heroine of the 2002 Monmouth Oaks and placed in the 2001 runnings of the Spinaway and Adirondack.
Drill's third dam is Grade 2-placed stakes winner Water Dance, who counts as half-siblings champion Little Current, victor of the 1974 Belmont and Preakness; Prayers'n Promises, queen of the 1980 Spinaway and Matron; and Darbyvail, herself the granddam of dual classic-placed and Grade 1-scoring sire Hard Spun.
This black-type rich female line includes champion Chateaugay, king of the 1963 Kentucky Derby and Belmont, as well as 1962 champion handicap mare and 1978 Broodmare of the Year Primonetta, who would foal Grade 1 winners Prince Thou Art and Cum Laude Laurie.