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Del Mar Futurity: Last Chance For Grade 1 Glory By The Sea
Pappacap winning the Best Pal (Credit: Ernie Belmonte)

Del Mar Futurity: Last Chance For Grade 1 Glory By The Sea

DEL MAR, CA – The final Grade 1 of the Del Mar meet is set for this Monday with six juveniles stepping forward in the $300,000 Runhappy Del Mar Futurity (G1). While the field may be short, several of these runners have shown flashes of dominance, making for what should be an entertaining event.

Scheduled for race 9, the Futurity has a local post time of 5:30 PM PT.

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When talking about this race, trainer Bob Baffert is always the first person who comes to mind. This year, he has two horses entered, both of whom are coming off impressive debut maiden special weight victories. The first is Pinehurst, who will break from post 4 with Mike Smith aboard for the ride. The other is Murray, with Flavien Prat aboard when breaking from post 5.

“They both broke their maidens here and they’ve both trained well since,” Baffert said.

Another horse with sharp local interest is Pappacap, who is a perfect 2 for 2 coming into the event. Last time out, he picked up an ultra-impressive win in the Best Pal Stakes (G2) over this surface, dominating by 4 3/4 lengths. He’ll try to make it 3 in a row when breaking from the rail with Joe Bravo in the saddle.

Steve Asmussen added an interesting east coast shipper to the mix, sending American Xperiment from Saratoga. Last time out, he broke his maiden in stylish fashion over the oval in upstate New York by 5 1/4 lengths. Umberto Rispoli will take the mount for this race and breaks from post 6.

The full field from the rail out: Pappacap, Olympic Legend, Finneus, Pinehurst, Murray, and American Xperiment.

Top Choice

#5 Murray – For my money, he was the most impressive maiden special weight winner at Del Mar this year, so this is the logical next spot. As you can watch above, he stalked the early pace before pouncing on the lead and drawing away to a victory of over 10 lengths. A repeat of that effort will make him tough to beat, and Baffert horses usually improve in their second career starts.

Horses to Use in Multi-Race Wagers

#1 Pappacap – It’s hard to fault anything about this horse after 2 solid starts. He broke his maiden impressively on debut at Gulfstream Park before shipping here last time out and easily taking home the Best Pal Stakes (G2). This is the logical next step for him, and even though he gets a tougher group to face today, he does have a bit of an expirence edge over his main rivals. He should be in with a big shot.

Exotic Plays

#4 Pinehurst – Buffett seems to have this race right where he wants it. Murray was the more impressive of the two maiden special weight winners, but Pinehurst was solid as well, so it would be no surprise if this horse won for the same ownership group as our top pick. He gets the services of Mike Smith, who’s still one of Baffert’s go to riders.

Party Crashers

#6 American Xperiment – This is a very interesting entry who was supplemented for $10,000. After breaking his maiden at Saratoga, Steve Asmussen sent this colt to Del Mar instead of running him at Saratoga in the Hopeful Stakes (G1). It’s an odd move, but this trainer knows what he’s doing, so you have to respect the horse. He was a very impressive debut winner at the Spa.

“He got here Tuesday, he arrived in good order, and we’re hoping he runs well,” said Asmussen assistant Sarah Campion, who travelled with American Xperiment. “He broke his maiden impressively at Saratoga, so Steve decided to send him out.”

Throw Outs

#2 Olympic Legend – He made his dirt debut a winning one last time out, taking home a maiden special weight at Los Alamitos by 1 length. The competition gets much tougher here, though, making him hard to endorse.

#3 Finneus – This horse has a decent resume but was no match for Pappacap last time out in the Best Pal Stakes (G2). What will change for him that he can turn the tables in this deeper field? It’s a tough ask.

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