INGLEWOOD, Calif. (Dec. 19, 2009) — Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert capped a four-win day with a record fifth victory by probable 2-year-old champion Lookin At Lucky in Saturday’s $750,000 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park.
Baffert, who saddled eventual Kentucky Derby runner-up Pioneerof the Nile to win his fourth Futurity in 2008, broke the record he shared with D. Wayne Lukas as Lookin At Lucky covered 1 1/16 miles on Cushion Track in 1:43.30 under jockey Garrett Gomez to finish three-quarters of a length clear of Noble’s Promise.
The victory was the fifth in six starts for Lookin At Lucky and helped ease the pain Baffert and owners Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman felt when he drew the 13-post in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and was beaten a head by Vale of York after running wide most of the way.
Lookin At Lucky became Baffert’s fourth winner on the ten-race program, his first quadruple at Hollywood Park. All came with 2-year-olds on a day he also saddled the fourth (The Program) and fifth-place (Marcello) finishers in the 29th running of the Futurity, a race which has generated six Kentucky Derby winners.
Lookin At Lucky, a son of Smark Strike, was eager to run early Saturday, but settled nicely just back of The Program on the backstretch as his stablemate set the fractions.
“I’ve always known he was versatile and could do whatever we want with him,” Gomez said. “He did everything good today. He was traveling super easy when we turned for home. He just waits on horses and only does as much as he has to. When I turned for home he quickened for about 100 yards then went into relax mode.
“It always looks like he’s stretched to win, but that’s not the case,” Gomez said. “He’s going to learn more as he goes along because he’s got a super mind to him. We’ve got to get him to where he puts his competition away and sprints to the wire. He’s full of talent and I’m getting even more excited about him.”
Baffert, who won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness with Real Quiet and the Preakness and Belmont with eventual Horse of the Year Point Given, is looking forward to the future as well.
“It’s nice to have young horses,” he said.” He ran a little bit different. He put him into the race this time. That’s good for him. He didn’t have to do a lot. He just sat there, cruised around there. You could tell he was in a good spot. He wanted to get a little tough early, but then he backed him off, which was good. That’s probably his best race. He’s getting better and better.
“We’re just gonna freshen him up and I’ll probably run him about two times before (the Derby). I don’t know (where), I haven’t figured it out. He might ship out, I don’t know. Either go to Oaklawn Park, New York, you never know . . . but I’ve got a lot of nice horses, I’ve got to spread them all out.”
A few others were on display Saturday, including Stuka Stakes winner Tiz Chrome and seventh-race winner Clutch Player.
“That Tiz Chrome, he’s a pretty serious horse,” Baffert said. “I like the way he ran. And the other one, Clutch Player, he’s gonna run two turns. So it’s good to be in this spot, but you need a lot of bullets in this game. You never get too excited.”
Lookin At Lucky paid a mere $2.60, matching the record low Futurity win mutuel set by Point Given in 2000. The winner’s share of $400,000 boosted his earnings to $1,243,000.
Second choice Noble’s Promise, the third-place finisher in the Breeders’
Cup Juvenile, ran well through the stretch after racing wide much of the way. He finished a half-length in front of Make Music for Me in third.
“The horse did very well,” jockey Rafael Bejarano said. “From where he was drawn, I tried to get him comfortable early. My horse came running to the end, he never quit. The other horse (Lookin At Lucky) just had a better post and that really helped him. I know I can beat him next time.”
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