CYPRESS, CA – A thrilling stretch duel saw Spielberg outbob a game The Great One to capture Saturday’s $200,000 Los Alamitos Futurity (G2).
Spielberg broke from the far outside post 6 under new rider Flavien Prat as the 9/5 second choice and settled three-wide in the clear off the hips of The Great One (on the rail) and Weston.
The Great One clicked off opening fractions of :23.01, :47.15, and 1:10.66 before rounding the far turn still on the lead.
Getting brave at 33/1, The Great One attempted to draw off in the stretch and break his maiden in style, but Spielberg dug in and fought to range up alongside him late.
Getting his nose down on the wire first, the Bob Baffert-trained Spielberg completed the 1 1/16-mile fast dirt route in 1:42.56.
“I’d never ridden him before, but Bob told me he was doing great,” Prat said. “The outside was a good draw for him. He broke well and was able to relax. I thought we had it all the way down the stretch, but it was close.”
The Great One remained 3 1/2 lengths clear of Petruchio, who took third by 5 lengths over the 4/5 favorite Red Flag.
Weston and Positivity completed the order of finish.
The Los Alamitos Futurity is part of the Road to the 2021 Kentucky Derby prep race season. Spielberg earned 10 points for the win, with The Great One receiving 4 for second, Petruchio 2 for third, and Red Flag 1 for fourth.
Spielberg’s win improved his overall record to 6-2-2-1 with $257,200 earned for co-owners SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Golconda Stables, Siena Farm, and Robert Masterson. The $1 million Union Rags colt was exiting a dull fourth behind Red Flag in the Bob Hope Stakes (G3) a 7-furlong sprint.
“(The Great One) was tough to get by,” said Baffert, who won his seventh straight race title and 13th overall, both records. “We needed every bit of that stretch and we were fortunate to get there. I didn’t know if I was going to run him here and I didn’t decide until after he worked well this week. I knew he was going to run well because he had shipped well over here and he was really on it in the paddock.”
Despite Spielberg taking an uncharacteristic (for Baffert) 6 starts to get his second win and first in a stakes, Baffert remained optimistic for his 2021 plans.
“Now we can start thinking Derby,” Baffert said. “It starts here for us. I thought it was an easy spot last time and he didn’t ship well. He got nervous when he got in the stall there and was just flat. We ran him back too quick. I asked Prat if there’s more there and he said there’s a lot more. I think he’ll get better with maturity. He’s a beautiful horse.”
Spielberg returned $5.80 to win, $3.60 to place, and $4.80 to show. The Great One brought back $16 to place and $10.80 to show, while Petruchio paid $5 to show.