INGLEWOOD, Calif. (December 14, 2011)—Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who has won the $750,000-guaranteed CashCall Futurity a record five times, will have three representatives when he aims for another victory in the Grade I for 2-year-olds Saturday at Hollywood Park.
The Futurity, which is run at 1 1/16 miles over Cushion Track, is the ninth of 10 races Saturday. Post time is 12:30 p.m. There will be a hooded sweatshirt giveaway – one per paid admission while supplies last.
If all 13 entrants start, it would match the second largest field in Futurity history. Swiss Yodeler defeated a dozen opponents in 1996. A.P. Indy knocked off 13 rivals when he won in 1991.
Baffert, whose last Futurity victory came with eventual 2 and 3-year-old champion Lookin At Lucky in 2009, is scheduled to run Drill, Liaison and Sky Kingdom in the final graded event of the Autumn meet.
Owned by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman – the same partnership that campaigned Lookin At Lucky – Drill will try to rebound after a dull effort in the Grade III Delta Jackpot Nov. 19 at Delta Downs.
Dispatched as the 2-1 favorite, Drill finished seventh of 10, 17 ½ lengths behind winner Sabercat. A son of Lawyer Ron and the Storm Cat mare Cat Dancer, Drill has won two of six and earned $248,150. This will be his first appearance at Hollywood Park.
Liaison will attempt to join Comma to the Top as the only winners of the Real Quiet Stakes to repeat in the Futurity.
An Indian Charlie colt out of the Victory Gallop mare Galloping Gal, Liaison won the Real Quiet by a half-length Nov. 12 for owner Arnold Zetcher. The Kentucky bred has won two of three and earned $94,560.
Comma to the Top earned Horse of the Meet honors in 2010 by virtue of victories in the Futurity, Real Quiet and the grassy Generous.
Sky Kingdom earned his maiden victory at the CashCall distance Nov. 24. Owned by Westrock Stables, the Empire Maker colt out of the Kingmambo mare Sky Beam has started three times and earned $31,130.
Majestic City, who has never lost in three races over Cushion Track, returns to California for owner Jeff Bloom and trainer Peter Miller, who is seeking back-to-back victories in the Futurity after Comma to the Top’s success a year ago.
A son of City Zip and the Meadowlake mare It’schemistrybaby, Majestic City is 3-for-6 with a bankroll of $245,570. In his most recent outing, the chestnut was 13th of 14 in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs.
The lone graded victory at Hollywood Park for Majestic City came when he took the Grade III Hollywood Juvenile Championship July 17. If successful Saturday, he will become the third horse to win the Juvenile and the Futurity, joining King Glorious (1988) and Swiss Yodeler.
Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who conditioned King Glorious, will saddle California Cup Juvenile winner Rousing Sermon.
Second behind Liaison in the Real Quiet, Rousing Sermon has won two of five and banked $134,000 for owner-breeders Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams. The son of Lucky Pulpit and the Awesome Again mare Rousing Again broke his maiden first time out over Cushion Track June 5.
A win would enable Hollendorfer to become the first trainer to win the Futurity and the Hollywood Starlet in the same year. Hollendorfer won the Starlet Dec. 10 with 14-1 outsider Killer Graces.
Handsome Mike will debut for CashCall founder J. Paul Reddam and trainer Doug O’Neill after being privately purchased following a second place finish in the Grade III Generous Nov. 27.
The son of Scat Daddy and the Smart Strike mare Classic Strike has one win in three starts and earnings of $50,780. He will be ridden by Corey Nakatani, who will try to become the fourth jockey to win the Futurity in consecutive years.
Nakatani, who was aboard Comma to the Top in 2010, would join Garrett Gomez, who won back-to-back with Pioneerof the Nile (2008) and Lookin At Lucky (2009), Alex Solis (Matty G-1995 and Swiss Yodeler-1996) and Laffit Pincay, Jr. (River Special-1992 and Valiant Nature-1993).
Runner-up in the Delta Jackpot, Basmati is also trained by O’Neill and owned by Reddam’s wife Zillah. The Borrego colt out of the Mountain Cat mare Abruzzi Ridge has one win in seven attempts. He’s earned $278,800.
Trainer Mike Harrington and owner Heinz Steinmann, the team behind Swiss Yodeler, are hoping for more Futurity success with Empire Way.
The son of Empire Maker and the A.P. Indy mare Delta Princess has a win in two races and earnings of $27,000. The full brother to 2011 Breeders Cup Ladies Classic winner Royal Delta defeated maidens Nov. 13 before finishing sixth in the Hollywood Prevue Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 24).
A five-length maiden winner Nov. 16 at Churchill Downs, Cozzetti will make his synthetic debut for Albaugh Family Stable and trainer Dale Romans. The Cozzene colt out of the Lemon Drop Kid mare Lemon Drop Cello is 1-for-3 with earnings of $31,650.
The last shipper to win the Futurity was Toccet in 2002.
A maiden winner Nov. 15 in France, Desormais will make his first start since being purchased by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and turned over to trainer Paddy Gallagher. The War Front colt out of the Desert King mare Desert Princess is 1-for-3 and has earned $11,491. His four length win as the 3-1 favorite came in his synthetic debut.
Blingo, a come-from-behind winner when he debuted on turf Nov. 25, will step into stakes company for owners Jerry and Ann Moss and trainer John Shirreffs. The Artie Schiller gelding out of the Sure Blade mare Wassifa earned $27,000 for the victory at one mile.
Brother Francis, who has been second in two starts, will stretch out for trainer Jim Cassidy after chasing So Brilliant in the Prevue. The Lion Heat colt out of the Spectrum mare Viaperita has banked $29,000 for owner-breeder Norman Cheng.
Like Brother Francis, Groovin’ Solo is a maiden, but his best finish in two starts at Del Mar was a fourth in his July 30 debut. The Bob and John colt out of the Summer Squall mare Squall Linda has earned $5,040 for owner-breeder-trainer Myung Kwon Cho.
From inside out, the field for the CashCall Futurity: Handsome Mike, Corey Nakatani rides, 121 pounds; Brother Francis, Victor Espinoza, 121; Groovin’ Solo, Alonso Quinonez., 121; Empire Way, Joel Rosario, 121; Drill, Martin Garcia, 121; Sky Kingdom, Garrett Gomez, 121; Blingo, Mike Smith, 121; Rousing Sermon, Joe Talamo, 121; Liaison, Rafael Bejarano, 121; Cozzetti, Julien Leparoux, 121; Majestic City, Ramon Dominguez, 121; Basmati, Hector Berrios, 121 and Desormais, David Flores, 121.
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