Baffert Wins Fourth Cash Call Futurity in a Row with McKinzie

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McKinzie (inside, yellow and red jockey cap) was placed first in the Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity after Solomini (outside) was disqualified for interference. (Eclipse Sportswire)

The knock on Zayat Stables' Solomini during his still-early career has been that he's a bit green in the stretch, but he has been good enough to place in two Grade 1 races nonetheless.

On Dec. 9 at Los Alamitos Race Course, his greenness was on display again, and this time it cost him in the $300,000 Grade 1 Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity.

The 2-year-old Curlin colt closed late to catch stablemate McKinzie and win by three-quarters of a length, but after an inquiry, stewards disqualified him to third after they determined he interfered with Instilled Regard, who was battling to the wire between the two Bob Baffert-trained horses.

McKinzie, the 1-2 favorite who finished a head in front of Instilled Regard for second, was declared the winner. That gave Baffert his fourth consecutive win in the Cash Call Futurity, which was held at Hollywood Park through 2013 before moving to Los Alamitos. His prior wins in the streak came with Dortmund (2014), Mor Spirit (2015), and Mastery (2016).

Solomini was initially part of a brief speed duel with For Him, then dropped back to third in the backstretch under Flavien Prat as Runaway Ghost rushed up to contest the pace. Runaway Ghost had a head in front through six furlongs, while Solomini backed off to last in the five-horse field.

McKinzie and Instilled Regard made their move in the final turn and drew clear in early stretch, but Solomini joined them with a sixteenth of a mile to go.

Solomini surged past to finish first in a final time of 1:42.57, but made contact with Instilled Regard. McKinzie was also involved in the contact with Instilled Regard, but the stewards determined after examining the head-on replay that he had maintained a straight course, and opted to only disqualify Solomini to third. The decision to disqualify Solomini was a 2-1 majority decision among the stewards.

McKinzie (Eclipse Sportswire)

"I didn't think there was going to be a change," Baffert said. "(McKinzie) had a rough trip around the first turn and he got a little tired at the end. It's a long stretch and he hooked up with (Instilled Regard) early. Prat rode a great race just sitting behind them. Unfortunately (Solomini) will lay on horses in the lane and you have to be careful with him. Prat might have gotten a little over-aggressive. It's really too bad they took him down. He was the better horse today."

"We got carried out in the first turn by (Runaway Ghost)," added jockey Mike Smith, who rode McKinzie. "As far as what happened in the stretch, I just rode my race, he kept trying, and we were blessed enough to get kissed into the win."

The win pushed McKinzie's earnings to $210,000 in just his second start. Karl Watson, Mike Pegram, and Paul Weitman's Street Sense colt won his debut Oct. 28, when he took a seven-furlong maiden special weight event by 5 ½ lengths at Santa Anita Park.

Solomini has now placed in three straight Grade 1 races – including runner-up efforts in the Sept. 30 FrontRunner Stakes and in the Nov. 4 Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

McKinzie earned 10 qualifying points to the 2018 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve with the victory, while Instilled Regard earned four, Solomini two, and fourth-place finisher For Him one.

Dream Tree Impressive in Starlet Stakes

Dream Tree (Eclipse Sportswire)

One race later at Los Alamitos, Dream Tree gave Baffert a new piece of history to add to his illustrious résumé, drawing clear of Yesterday's News in the stretch to take $300,000 Grade 1 Starlet Stakes by 3 ¼ lengths.

In the history of the two Grade 1 races for 2-year-olds – which have been run since 1981 at either Hollywood Park or Los Alamitos – no trainer has ever won both in the same year.

Where the CashCall featured a controversial, bump-filled finish, Dream Tree allowed for no such drama in the Starlet. After rating well to the outside in second through the first half-mile, the daughter of Uncle Mo responded to just a shake of the reins from jockey Drayden Van Dyke at the top of the stretch and drew off under a hand ride en route to remaining unblemished in her young, three-race career.  Final time for the 1 1/16 miles was 1:43.87.

Yesterday's News was 5 ¼ lengths clear of third-place finisher Piedi Bianchi.

2017 Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity
December 9th, 2017

Winning Time: 1:42.57
  • Purse: $300,000
  • Distance: 1 1/16 Miles
  • Age: 2 yo
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Winning Time: 1:42.57
Results
Win
Place
Show
1st
5 McKinzie
$3.00
$2.40
2nd
1 Instilled Regard
$6.80
3rd
3 Solomini
4th
2 For Him
5th
4 Runaway Ghost
Payoff
Pick 3
1-5-5
1-5-5
$70
Daily Double
5-5
5-5
$32
Exacta
5-1
5-1
$9
Trifecta
5-1-3
5-1-3
$15
Payoff
Pick 3
1-5-5
1-5-5
$70
Daily Double
5-5
5-5
$32
Exacta
5-1
5-1
$9
Trifecta
5-1-3
5-1-3
$15

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