There are not many Southern California Grade 1 or Grade 2 dirt stakes that have eluded the grasp of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. The Los Alamitos Futurity is definitely not one of them. The two-time Triple Crown winner not only has captured the stakes 11 times at Hollywood Park and now Los Alamitos, he’s won the last five editions of 1 1/16-mile test. Needless to say, he’s well-stocked to turn the winning streak into a six-pack with two main threats among the race's four entries.
Los Alamitos Futurity
1. Anneau d’Or (9-5): He was second in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, which is normally a feather in a 2-year-old’s cap. Yet he was 28-1 that day and the victorious Storm the Court was 45-1, raising questions about exactly what happened on that November afternoon. If he can duplicate his Breeders’ Cup effort, he’ll be a major threat. If he disappoints, it will raise even more questions about the quality of the horses who competed in the biggest stakes of the year for 2-year-olds. Although he trains on a synthetic surface and broke his maiden on turf, he has a great dirt pedigree and will be dangerous – unless the Juvenile was a fluke.
2. Wrecking Crew (7-2): He was third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile – at 39-1. A very consistent sort, he’s run four times – three times in Grade 1 or 2 stakes – and has not been worse than third. He only lost the Juvenile by a little more than three lengths and looms a major player, but the small field and the prospect of a leisurely pace may work against him.
3. Thousand Words (8-5): They paid a million dollars for him so you know he has the pedigree and looks to be a Grade 1 winner. He’s only raced once, and that was at 6 ½ furlongs. Yet Baffert makes expert use of workouts to get his horses ready, so the stretchout isn’t much of a worry. The key question seems to be which one of the two Baffert horses will be on the lead and that may ultimately decide the race.
4. High Velocity (5-2): Baffert has run him twice, the last time in the Grade 3 Bob Hope Stakes at Del Mar. Given that front-running win in 1:23.16 and the outside post, he seems the best candidate to be on the lead after the opening quarter-mile and that could make him tough to reel in against such a small field. His 5-2 morning-line price might not seem enticing, but in a four-horse field with a good chance to control the pace, it’s not bad.
THE PICK: High Velocity
LIVE LONGSHOT: Wrecking Crew