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The year’s last 2021 Kentucky Derby (G1) qualifier will be contested this Saturday when a short field of six lines up for the $200,000 Los Alamitos Futurity (G2). The race, which offers 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the winner, 4 for second, 2 for third, and 1 for fourth, is slated as race 4 on a 10-race card and has a local post time of 1:28 PM PT.
You can’t talk about this race without first bringing up trainer Bob Baffert, who’s won this event 6 years in a row. His tough luck this year continues, though, as he’s only entered the already-disappointing Spielberg. The $1 million colt has just 1 win after 5 starts, despite carrying a good deal of hype before his debut. He drew post 6 for this start with Flavien Prat aboard.
His main class challenge comes from Red Flag, who drew the rail for the event and will have Cameo star Victor Espinoza up for the ride. This John Shirreffs-trained colt has won 2 in a row, including the Bob Hope Stakes (G3) at Del Mar last time out, where he defeated the aforementioned Spielberg.
Another graded stakes winner in this group is Weston, who won the Best Pal Stakes (G2) at Del Mar 3 starts back back. He then finished third in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) and fifth in the Bob Hope Stakes (G3). He’ll break from post 4 with Tyler Baze up.
The full field from the rail out: Red Flag, Petruchio, The Great One, Weston, Positivity, and Spielberg.
#2 Petruchio – We’ll see if this up-and-coming horse can improve while stretching out in distance and switching back to the dirt. He broke his maiden on the Del Mar turf last time out, using an impressive run late to pull away for a 1 3/4-length triumph. Jockey Mike Smith, aboard that day, has the mount again and has expressed his excitement about this one. Even though there are question marks, against a field as weak as this, Petruchio makes a lot of sense on top.
#1 Red Flag – The Shirreffs trainee seems to be getting with every start and rides a 2-race win streak that includes a 10/1 upset last time out in the Bob Hope Stakes (G3) at Del Mar. That win is probably the most impressive of anyone in this field, making him a solid candidate to win this contest.
#6 Spielberg – He simply has not lived up to the hype as the next big Baffert horse. Last time out, he was fourth as the heavy favorite in the Bob Hope Stakes (G3), losing to Red Flag by nearly 10 lengths. He really has a lot of proving to do before placing a win bet on him, even though his trainer has won this race 6 years in a row.
#5 Positivity – We’ll see if this California-bred can defeat open company for the first time. He took home the Graduation Stakes at Del Mar before running second last time out in the Golden State Juvenile Stakes. His speed figures fit this group, giving him a slight chance to pull off the upset.
#4 Weston – This guy looked solid in the Best Pal Stakes (G2) over the summer but came down to Earth a bit in his last 2 starts. He really needs to rebound from a poor effort last time out to have a chance in this spot.
#3 The Great One – It’s surprising to see this maiden entered after 3 failed attempts to hit the board. This isn’t the toughest stakes race you’ll ever see, but it’s probably tougher than the maiden fields he’s faced.
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