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A field of seven 2-year-olds will run Monday for the Grade 1, $300,000 Del Mar Futurity, which serves as the annual closing-day feature at Del Mar. It is always a bittersweet day when “the turf meets the surf” closes up shop, but the Del Mar Futurity is one of the meet’s highlights, as recent stars American Pharoah, Nyquist, and Bolt d’Oro have won this race.
The highly-regarded Roadster headlines this year’s edition for Bob Baffert. The Hall of Fame trainer has had an amazing Del Mar meet with juveniles, but this colt is rumored to be his best. Roadster was an impressive 4 1/2-length maiden winner on debut July 29 at Del Mar in a maiden special weight, and Mike Smith will once again have the mount as Roadster breaks from post 3.
The race was once billed to be a superstar match-up between Roadster and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer’s Instagrand, but Hollendorfer opted to not start his most prized colt and has instead entered Rowayton. The son of Into Mischief broke his maiden on opening weekend at Del Mar in a maiden special weight by a length and 3/4. Drayden Van Dyke will have the mount.
The full field from the rail out: Sparky Ville, Rowayton, Roadster, Savagery, Spin Lightning, Sigalert, and Game Winner.
#3 Roadster – This could be the next big star for Baffert, who has been overheard saying that he is really high on this colt. When Baffert talks one up, you have to listen, because he is very open about his horses’ talent. Roadster did everything right on debut, and since then, he fired a bullet workout on August 23, which indicates that he is ready to go again. All signs point to a monster effort from him.
#2 Rowayton – It’s a classic Baffert vs. Hollendorfer matchup at Del Mar, but this horse is not Hollendorfer’s top 2-year-old. Instead of Instagrand, he sends out Rowayton, who set the early pace and ran away from rivals in the middle portion of his debut to open up a big lead. He had plenty left in the tank down the lane to win by a length and 1/2 in the end and earned a fairly strong speed figure, though it was just a bit below the figure that Roadster earned. If the clear favorite falters, Rowayton will be there to pick up the pieces.
#6 Sigalert – Trainer John Sadler has had a fantastic meet at Del Mar with stars Accelerate and Catalina Cruiser, but he also led this horse over for an impressive maiden special weight score on August 4. The speed figure came back fairly strong, and the colt showed some fight by passing his rival late to win by a 1/2-length. The race sets up to be a bit top-heavy, so hitting the board is definitely within his realm of possibility.
#7 Game Winner – The “other” Baffert entry, he isn’t getting much attention, but he was pretty impressive in his debut win over this track against maiden special weight. In 6 furlongs, he blew out his competition by nearly 6 lengths. The turnaround is a bit quick for him, as that came just two weeks ago, but Baffert is showing confidence by wheeling him back quickly. There have been many times over the years when the “other” Baffert wins, and it could happen once again here.
#1 Sparky Ville – He was second to Instagrand last time out in the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes, and though he was never close to that monster, remember that Instagrand might be the best 2-year-old in the country. This race won’t be easy, though, so Sparky Ville will need to show improvement to have a shot.
#5 Spin Lightning – This debut winner was solid when winning a maiden special weight here on August 12, but his speed figure came back the slowest of anyone in this field. He does have Flavien Prat riding once again, which is always a positive, but he will need to improve in order to have a shot.
#4 Savagery – It’s hard to take a maiden claiming winner serious when they go from that to a Grade 1. That is the biggest class jump in racing and is what Savagery will try to do here. He got a decent speed figure for that win, but this will be an entirely different challenge today.
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