Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s fingerprints can be found on virtually all of the major stakes in California. But when it comes to the Los Alamitos Futurity, Baffert has all 10 of his fingers and two of his toes wrapped around the 2-year-old stakes.
Not only has Baffert won the 1 1/16-mile race a record 12 times, but his horses have been in the winner’s circle after the last six runnings of the race. Number 13 and seven in a row could happen Saturday as Baffert will send out Spielberg in hopes of keeping his streak alive.
1. Red Flag (1-1 morning-line odds): He enters off of a highly impressive, 7 1/4-length victory in the Grade 3 Bob Hope Stakes at Del Mar. Both the final time and his ability to pull away with ease in the stretch bode quite well for his chances of stretching out to two turns here. If there’s anyone capable of ending Baffert’s streak in this race, it’s him.
JOCKEY: Victor Espinoza; TRAINER: John Shirreffs
2. Petruchio (4-1): Needed four tries to break his maiden and the last two came on turf, which were his best efforts. He was third in his two dirt races, but as a son of Into Mischief he certainly has the pedigree to be a factor while switching back to dirt.
JOCKEY: Mike Smith; TRAINER: Richard Mandella
3. The Great One (15-1): He’s still a maiden after three starts and he lost by 13 lengths in his only dirt race. Others look much more inviting.
JOCKEY: Abel Cedillo; TRAINER: Doug O’Neill
4. Weston (10-1): A disappointment in the Bob Hope, he set the pace but was finished after a half-mile and faded to fifth, 17 lengths behind Red Flag. A sharp workout for this race gives some hope he can bounce back to the winning form he displayed in his first two starts when he captured a maiden race and the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes.
JOCKEY: Tyler Baze; TRAINER: Ryan Hanson
5. Positivity (8-1): He showed some grit last time while suffering his first loss in three starts. Running against fellow California-breds, he was second in the seven-furlong Golden State Juvenile. The final time was on the slow side, but in this field he’s capable of contending.
JOCKEY: Drayden Van Dyke; TRAINER: Patrick Gallagher
6. Spielberg (5-2): He’s another who could not keep step with Red Flag in the Bob Hope. Sent off as the 3-5 favorite, he pressed the early pace but faded in the stretch to finish fourth, beaten 9 ½ lengths. His most recent workout was razor sharp, and with Baffert calling the shots, it wouldn’t not be much of a surprise if he reverts to the form he displayed when second in the Grade 1 Runhappy Del Mar Futurity and third in the Grade 1 American Pharoah Stakes.
JOCKEY: Flavien Prat; TRAINER: Bob Baffert
THE PICK: Spielberg
LIVE LONGSHOT: Positivity