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2022 Los Al Futurity Preview & FREE Picks | Is Arabian Lion The Best Bob Baffert Option?
Arabian Lion (Lindsay Affleck)

2022 Los Al Futurity Preview & FREE Picks | Is Arabian Lion The Best Bob Baffert Option?

Aaron previews the 2022 Los Al Futurity (G2) from Los Alamitos, then gives his top picks & long shots from this prep race for the 2023 Kentucky Derby (G1). Trainer Bob Baffert aims at winning his record 14th edition of this race and trains 3 of the 5 entries, including Arabian Lion. Will the Baffert barn avenge last year’s loss? If so, which Baffert horse wins? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!

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The track press release:

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert will send out the trio of Arabian Lion, Carmel Road and Fort Bragg as he seeks his eighth win in nine years in the Grade 2, $200,000-guaranteed Los Alamitos Futurity Saturday at Los Alamitos racecourse in Cypress, Calif. A field of five is entered.

The race at 1 1/16 miles for 2-year-olds is the fourth of 10 races on the next-to-last day of the Winter Thoroughbred meet at Los Alamitos. Post time Saturday is 12:30 p.m. PT. Scheduled post time for the Futurity is 2 p.m. PT.

(The Los Alamitos Futurity is an official points race for the Kentucky Derby, offering 10-4-3-2-1 points to the first five finishers. However, because horses trained by Bob Baffert are ineligible to earn points as he is barred from participating in the 2023 Derby, only two runners will be eligible.)

Baffert, who won the first seven Los Alamitos Futurities offered since daytime Thoroughbred racing returned in 2014 with the close of Hollywood Park, had to settle for second with Messier in 2021. Slow Down Andy, trained by Doug O’Neill for owner-breeder J. Paul Reddam,  won by one length a year ago.

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Owned by Amr Zedan’s Zedan Racing Stables Inc., Arabian Lion will try two turns for the first time in his return to California.

A son of Justify and the Distorted Humor mare Unbound, Arabian Lion, who was purchased for $600,000 at the OBS sale in April, was a first-out winner Oct. 9 at Santa Anita, then was second as the odds-on favorite going seven furlongs on the Breeders’ Cup Friday undercard Nov. 4 at Keeneland. He’s banked $66,600.

Owned by a large partnership that includes SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Robert Masterson, Stonestreet Stables LLC, Jay Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital LLC and Catherine Donovan, Carmel Road and Fort Bragg both have route victories on their resumes.

A son of Quality Road and the Unbridled’s Song mare Inspired, Carmel Road defeated maidens by nearly nine lengths at eight furlongs Aug. 26 at Del Mar for his lone win in three tries.

In his most recent outing, the $650,000 yearling purchase finished far back in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity Oct. 8 at Keeneland. He’s banked $65,100.

A $700,000 buy in October of last year, Fort Bragg graduated at the Los Alamitos Futurity distance as the 3-10 choice Nov. 4 at Santa Anita. The win came 25 days after he been disqualified from a victory and placed second as the 3-5 favorite.

The Tapit colt out of the Shanghai Bobby mare March X Press has earned $58,400 in three starts.

Trainer Tim Yakteen will seek his second stakes win of the Winter meet – he won the Soviet Problem Dec. 11 with Cast Member for owner-breeder George Krikorian – when he saddles Practical Move.

A son of Practical Joke and the Afleet Alex mare Ack Naughty owned by Amestoy, Practical Move stretches out again after finishing third in the Grade 3 Bob Hope last month at seven furlongs.

Purchased for $230,000 out of the same sale as Arabian Lion, Practical Move was the beneficiary when Fort Bragg was disqualified Oct. 10 in Arcadia. The bay has earned $74,200 in four races.

Completing the field is three-start maiden Tall Boy.

Trained by Leandro Mora for Calumet Farm, the Lookin At Lucky colt out of the Scat Daddy mare Madame Mayra has earned $20,000. In his most recent start, Tall Boy was a distant third behind runaway winner Spun Intended Nov. 26 at Del Mar. The Futurity will be his first attempt beyond 6 ½ furlongs.

From inside out, the field for the Los Alamitos Futurity:

  1. Tall Boy, Umberto Rispoli rides, 120 pounds
  2. Carmel Road, Juan Hernandez, 120
  3. Fort Bragg, Flavien Prat, 120
  4. Practical Move, Ramon Vazquez, 120
  5. Arabian Lion, John Velazquez, 120