CYPRESS, CA – Albaugh Family Stables and Spendthrift Farm’s Thousand Words was, in his Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s own words, “impressive” as he won Saturday’s $200,000 Los Alamitos Futurity (G2).
Breaking from post 3 under Flavien Prat at 8/5 odds, Thousand Words settled two-wide early behind and alongside his stablemate High Velocity, who posted opening fractions of :22.47, :45.87, and 1:10.43. Behind them, the rail-breaking 6/5 favorite Anneau d’Or watched and waited until entering the far turn to move out three-wide and go after the Baffert pair.
At the top of the stretch, Thousand Words began inching away from High Velocity, but halfway home, Anneau d’Or began finding his best strides. Heading Thousand Words just inside the 1/8 pole, Anneau d’Or turned it into a two-horse scramble for the finish as High Velocity gave way on the rail.
The two colts battled seemingly in step together for much of the final furlong, but in the shadow of the wire, Thousand Words dug deep and put his neck in front for the victory. He completed the 1 1/16-mile event over the good (sealed) main track in a final time of 1:43.19.
“He broke fine and relaxed perfectly,” Prat said. “He was looking around a little bit when he made the lead, but when (Anneau d’Or) came to him, he regrouped and fought back.”
Running tough in defeat, Anneau d’Or finished runner-up for the second straight time, having last done so in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita Park. High Velocity crossed 5 lengths behind in third, while behind him came the non-threatening Wrecking Crew to complete the short order of finish.
The Los Alamitos Futurity is part of the Road to the 2020 Kentucky Derby prep race season. Thousand Words earned 10 points for the win, with Anneau d’Or receiving 4 for second, High Velocity 2 for third, and Wrecking Crew 1 for fourth.
Thousand Words’ win was his second in as many starts, having broken his maiden on debut at Santa Anita Park on October 26. The 2-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile, purchased for $1 million as a yearling, has now earned $151,000.
“Turning for home, I thought I could run 1-2,” Baffert said. “But then I saw (Anneau d’Or) and I thought, ‘Oh no, he’s going to get us,’ but (Thousand Words) was game. When that horse came to him, he took off, and when he came back after the race, he wasn’t even blowing hard. Distance isn’t going to be a problem. That’s impressive when they can win like that second time out.”
Thousand Words returned $5.40 to win and $2.40 to place, while Anneau d’Or brought back $2.40 to place. There was no show betting.