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DEL MAR, CA – Despite being the lesser-bet of the two entries bearing the same silks and trainer of record, Pinehurst put his nose in front from the start and led gate to wire in Monday’s $300,000 Runhappy Del Mar Futurity (G1).
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Pinehurst exited post 4 as the 4/1 second choice in the field of six juvenile colts and Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith piloted him straight to the front, where he posted opening fractions of :22.09 and :44.77.
Extending his advantage while cornering, Pinehurst took off at the top of the stretch and held safely to win the 7-furlong fast dirt sprint by 4 1/2 lengths in 1:23.55.
“When we ran last time, he stumbled pretty badly coming out of there, but he still made the lead, so I knew he was plenty quick,” said Smith, who won his first stakes of the meet on Closing Day. “We beat a horse that day named Enbarr and I knew they were real high on him, so I figured I was sitting on a good horse.”
Longshot California-bred Finneus (35/1), a $200,000 yearling purchase, rallied down the center of the lane to take second by a 1/2-length over American Xperiment.
Previously undefeated Best Pal Stakes (G2) winner Pappacap was seemingly full of run while stuck on the rail for much of the race and had nothing left once clear, finishing another 1/2-length further back in fourth.
The 3/5 heavy favorite Murray and Olympic Legend completed the order of finish.
Like the winner, Murray is a Bob Baffert trainee co-owned by SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Robert Masterson, Stonestreet Stables, Jay Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital, Catherine Donovan, Golconda Stable, and Siena Farm.
Pinehurst’s win followed a debut 5-furlong score over this track on August 1, when Smith kept the son of Twirling Candy on the front end from the beginning before winning by a 1/2-length. Purchased for $385,000 as a yearling, he has now banked $222,000.
“I could see that Murray didn’t have it today; he was struggling early on,” Baffert said. “I’m just glad that I had two good horses and one of them had it, even if the other one didn’t. I’ve been blessed over the years with so many good owners and so many good young horses. Mike Smith broke his maiden, so it was natural to have him back. He’s a great rider and you give him a live one, he knows what to do.”
Pinehurst returned $10 to win, $5.40 to place, and $4 to show. Finneus brought back $18 to place and $7.80 to show. American Xperiment paid $5 to show.
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