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The Bob Baffert-trained Wynstock won the 2023 Los Al Futurity (G2) at Los Alamitos, which is a 2024 Kentucky Derby (G1) prep race. This was his 2nd straight gate-to-wire victory as a long shot; the 4/5 favorite Coach Prime was 3rd.
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Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert won his eighth Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) in 10 years on Saturday, but it wasn’t with the 2-year-old most were expecting.
Wynstock, the longest-priced entrant of the trio Baffert saddled in the $200,000 race, led virtually all the way at 13-1 odds, then survived a stewards’ inquiry to earn his second consecutive win since he was stretched out.
The victory was especially sweet for Baffert because Wynstock, a New York bred son of Solomini and the Flatter mare Timberlea, is owned by Dr. Edward Allred, the owner of Los Alamitos, and F. Jack Liebau, the vice president of the Los Alamitos Racing Association. He was bred by Empire Equines LLC.
After beginning his career by disappointing twice as the favorite in races at 6½ furlongs, Wynstock dominated maidens by 7½ lengths going a mile Oct. 15 in his first collaboration with jockey Kyle Frey.
The surprising result – the chestnut was also 13-1 that day – enabled Frey to retain the mount in the Los Alamitos Futurity, and Wynstock responded with a half-length victory over 4-1 second choice Stronghold. The Baffert-trained Coach Prime, the 4-5 favorite, was another half length back in third.
Stewards Luis Jauregui, David Nuesch and Kim Sawyer conducted an inquiry into some bumping between Wynstock and Stronghold inside the final eighth of a mile, but ruled both horses contributed to the incident and there was no change to the order of finish.
Wine Me Up, the third Baffert entrant and 19-10 second choice, and Ace of Clubs completed the order of finish.
Pushing his earnings to $162,740, Wynstock, who was purchased from the Caliente Thoroughbreds consignment for $700,000 at the OBS April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale, covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.53. He returned $29.40 for the win making him the highest-priced winner of the Futurity since the race has been run at Los Alamitos.
Stronghold, racing around two turns for the first time, outfinished Coach Prime by a half length for second.
“To have this moment is special,” said Baffert. “I’m so excited. I’m just so happy (for Dr. Allred). He and I go way back. He bought this horse and trusted me.
“I thought (Wynstock) would be on the lead today because when I sent him long the first time that’s how he won. I couldn’t believe he got beat twice going short before that because he had shown so much in the morning.
“When he went long we put (Frey) on him and he got him away from there so I told Kyle I’d leave him on this horse because they get along great together.
“This horse looked outstanding coming into the paddock today. He was on his toes and actually looked like he was going to run in the Champion of Champions. He’s a stout, beautiful horse.
“(Coach Prime) was sort of in and out the whole way. He got a little warm behind the gate and got shuffled back a bit. He’s still green.”
The Los Alamitos Futurity was Frey’s first graded stakes success in Southern California and his second stakes win at this venue. He had previously won the Dark Mirage Stakes in 2021 with Samurai Charm.
“Relaxing isn’t an issue for this horse,” said Frey. “Just getting out of the gate is and he did that perfectly today. He has the heart of a lion. He swelled up when (Stronghold) came up on our inside.” (On the inquiry): “(Stronghold) got us first.”
The Los Alamitos Futurity provided Kentucky Derby (G1) qualifying points on a 10-5-3-2-1 basis, but only Stronghold (5points) and fifth-place finisher Ace of Clubs (1 point) earned points. Baffert-trained runners are ineligible for points because of Churchill Downs Inc.’s ban of the trainer from entering horse in the Derby and other races through 2024.
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