Bob Baffert Looks To Close Delmar Summer Session In Style With Victories in The Debutante and The Futurity
Del Mar Race Track will be closing its summer season this weekend with two fantastic Grade I two-year-old races, The Futurity and The Debutante Stakes. Legendary trainer Bob Baffert has had tremendous success in both events, picking up a double victory last year. It was the fifth time the 69-year-old has won the Del Mar Futurity and TVG Del Mar Debutante Stakes in the same year.
Bob Baffert Seeks Fourth Straight TVG Del Mar Debutante Stakes Trophy
Bob Baffert will start his quest to pick up another final weekend double with the Debutante Stakes. The Debutante Stakes, established in 1951, is a seven-furlong race for two-year-old fillies that has a purse of $300,000 and will go to post at 7:46 (ET) on Saturday.
Bob Baffert will have two of the eight horses in the Debutante, including morning line favorite Home Cooking (9/5). Home Cooking, ridden by jockey Mike Smith – who was atop of Grace Adler last year – is coming off a convincing nine and one-quarter length victory in a maiden special weight race on August 21 at Del Mar. The daughter of Honor Code finished third in her debut.
Bob Baffert’s other horse in the race is Fast and Shiny, listed at 8/1 odds on the morning line, won her debut on August 7 in Southern California.
Fast and Shiny joins Home Cooking out of the Three Amigos barn, which also owns Havnameltdown and Cave Rock, both of whom will run in the Runhappy Futurity Stakes on Sunday. If the Three Amigos Stable can win both events, they would be the last owners to hit the double in 20 years. No, surprise that Bob Baffert – who trains Havnameltdown – was the trainer the last time that occurred.
If bettors are looking for other options to challenge Home Cooking, Vegas Magic, along with And Tell Me Nollies, are expected to be in the mix during the race. Vegas Magic (3/1) is the most experienced of the horses in the field, winning all three of her starts with two Stakes wins and breaks from the rail. The Doug O’Neil-trained filly is coming off a surprising Grade II Sorrento Stakes victory as she went off 14-1 odds.
And Tell Me Nolies bounced back from a fourth-place finish in her debut to break her maiden the last time. Long-shot Satin Doll (20/1) is also a horse to keep an eye on if only due to its owners, the Del Mar Group. The Del Mar Group – which has four horses in its stable – is a group of 10 owners, including college basketball coaches Rick Pitino and Mick Cronin and UCLA football boss Chip Kelly.
“Each and every one of them love coming to Del Mar. Coach Kelly came to the Breeders’ Cup (last year at Del Mar). He had a bye or something that weekend. He enjoyed the heck out of it. He loves the sport, and the other guys do too.” – said O’Neil.
Bob Baffert’s Trio of Horses Are The Favorites In Futurity
Bob Baffert has the three-top morning line betting favorites in Sunday’s Grade I Runhappy Del Mar Futurity. As much success as Baffert has had in the Debutane; he has accomplished even more in the Futurity. He earned his 15th victory in the event last year with Pinehurst.
Cave Rock is the morning line favorite, at 6/5 odds, for this year’s $300,000 Futurity will see nine two-year-old colts go seven furlongs. The son of Arrogate won his debut by six lengths on Aug. 13. Baffert’s other two horses, Newgate and Havnameltdown, are co-second choices on the morning line at 4/1.
Newgate, son of Into Mischief, also won his debut though that was over five-and-one half furlongs at the end of July. If Newgate wins, he will give most of his owners’ back-to-back victories in this event. As several people in his ownership group also own a stake in Pinehurst.
Meanwhile, Havnameltdown is the only horse in the field to have a graded stakes victory. Havnameltdown won the Grade III Best Pal Stakes, almost wire-to-wire, his last time out on Aug. 14.
“He (Havnameltdown) is built for speed if you look at him. He is very precocious looking; his sire was very fast.”- said Baffert, following the Best Pal.
Classical Cat (1-1-0-0) and Skinner (1-0-0-0) are the other horses with single-digit odds on the morning line. The Big Wam is the most experienced horse in the field and the only other competitor to win a stakes race. The son of Mr. Big (4-2-2-0) won the Graduation Stakes early last month and is 12/1 on the morning line.
The remainder of the field consists of two colts – Agency (12/1) and Pop d’Oro (50/1), sired by Bolt d’Oro, the leading sire of 2-year-olds. Agency and Pop d’Oro finished second and fourth in the Best Pal Stakes their last times out. Mixto (20/1) rounds out the field.