Baffert Stacks Field For Saturday’s CashCall Futurity At Los Alamitos

David Schwab

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 6:14 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018 6:14 PM UTC

As the juvenile campaign for Derby hopefuls continues to wind down, one last big West Coast event on Saturday heats things up for six entries listed as probable for the $300,000 Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity.

Famed thoroughbred trainer Bob Baffert struck gold with Justify as the latest 3-year-old thoroughbred to complete the grueling Triple Crown gauntlet by winning all three events. That has happened only 13 times in nearly 150 years of this famed racing series.

As far as this Saturday’s Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity as the final major graded stakes race for 2-year-old thoroughbreds this year, Baffert is expected to test the waters for a 2019 Triple Crown run with a pair exciting contenders looking to make an early mark on the Kentucky Derby Trail.

The Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity is a Grade 1 stakes race open to 2-year -old thoroughbreds. The total prize purse for Saturday’s run is set at $300,000 along with qualifying points for next year’s Kentucky Derby. The race will be run on the dirt track at Los Alamitos Race Course at a total distance of 1 1/16 miles.

Tracking The Top Contenders

Baffert’s top contender expected to run on Saturday is Mucho Gusto. The Kentucky-bred colt comes into this race with a Horse Racing Nation rating of 6.02 coming off his impressive victory at Del Mar on Nov. 17 in the Grade 3 Bob Hope Stakes. Run at a distance of 7 furlongs on dirt, he completed that distance in 1:23.51 over Savagery and Sparky Ville.

In his only other competitive run as a juvenile, he placed first in a 6-furlong Maiden Special Weight event at Los Alamitos on Sept. 20. He covered that distance on dirt in 1:10.14. Sired by Mucho Macho Man with a progeny going back to Holy Bull, the added distance will be a great test closing out his 2-year old campaign.

The other Kentucky-bred colt under Baffert’s watchful eye expected to run in Saturday’s main event is Improbable. He carries the same HRN rating of 6.02 after winning the ungraded Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs on Nov. 2. Run on dirt at a distance of 1 mile, he worked his way past Trophy Chaser and Distant Shore in 1:35.61.

The son of City Zip started his racing career at Santa Anita in late-September with a victory in a 6-furlong Maiden Special Weight race in 1:10.44. This is another West Coast product that has something to prove at the longer distance of the CashCall Futurity. A Baffert exacta could be the way to bet this race if both of his colts are in the field.

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Racing! A look at Bob Baffert’s 2-year-old success https://t.co/ddfR3sa42J

— L.A. Times Sports (@latimessports) November 30, 2018
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One To Watch

Jerry Hollendorfer is another top thoroughbred trainer who could have a pair of entries in Saturday’s race. Each 2-year-old was in the field for this year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs on Nov. 2 with Gunmetal Gray taking fifth, one spot ahead of Dueling. As far as their projected running order in the CashCall Futurity, I would give Gunmetal Gray the slight edge this time around as well.

Also bred in Kentucky, this juvenile colt has been busy this season with four events and two finishes in the money. Ahead of his fifth-place finish at Churchill, he took second in the Grade 1 American Pharoah Stakes on Sept. 29 at Santa Anita just behind Game Winner, who then went on to win the BC Juvenile.

Both of those races were run at a distance of 1 1/16 miles to give this son of Exchange Rate an added edge over Baffert’s duo on Saturday. He comes into this race with a 5.74 HRN rating for his early accomplishments.

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