By Nicholas Godfrey
Los Alamitos: Los Alamitos Futurity G2 $200,000, 1m½f, dirt, 2yo
Spielberg (Bob Baffert/Flavien Prat)
If it’s Los Al, then it must be Bob Baffert. The former Hollywood Futurity, downgraded to G2 last year, moved to its current venue in 2014 – and Baffert has won all seven runnings since then, and 13 altogether.
Mind you, it was a close-run thing on this occasion as $1 million yearling Spielberg – twice placed in G1 company – needed the entire stretch to get up in the final stride and touch off front-running longshot The Great One.
The son of Union Rags joins a starry list of Baffert’s previous Futurity scorers including subsequent Kentucky Derby hero Real Quiet and the likes of Point Given, Captain Steve, Lookin At Lucky, McKinzie and Improbable.
Bob Baffert (trainer): “He needed every bit of that stretch. Now we can start thinking Derby. It starts here for us. He’s still growing up – he’s a beautiful horse and they ran pretty fast.”
Jack Wolf (co-founder of part-owners Starlight Racing): “I talked to Bob after the race and never heard him so excited and relieved at the same time. I congratulated him on winning seven of the things in a row, and he corrected me and told me he had won 13. I guess I wasn’t counting all of them at different places.”
Pegasus beckons for Sleepy Eyes Todd
Gulfstream Park: Mr. Prospector Stakes G3 $100,000, 7f, dirt, 3yo+
Sleepy Eyes Todd (Miguel Silva/Tyler Gaffalione)
The Pegasus World Cup on January 23 is on the agenda for Sleepy Eyes Todd after the four-year-old held the rallying Firenze Fire by a half-length. “That is the plan,” said trainer Miguel Silva.
A 7½-length winner of the valuable Charles Town Classic at the West Virginia bull ring in August, he had also landed a 7f event on the Breeders’ Cup undercard. Remarkably, he has had nine different jockeys in his last nine starts – and this one, Tyler Gaffalione, had a four-timer on the Gulfstream card.
Miguel Silva (trainer): “This is the best horse we’ve ever had – we’ve always been high on him. We wanted to take him to the Kentucky Derby but he had a little issue and we had to stop with him. He’s always been a nice horse. We’ve always believed in him.”
Maxfield scores on latest comeback
Fair Grounds: Tenacious Stakes (ungraded) $75,000, 1m½f, dirt, 3yo+
Maxfield (Brendan Walsh/Florent Geroux)
Unbeaten Maxfield returned after his latest layoff in a stop-start career with victory in this minor stakes contest at odds of 1-2. Godolphin’s son of Street Sense took command at the head of the stretch and kept on to score by 2½ lengths.
A G1 winner as a two-year-old in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland, he was ruled out of last year’s Breeders’ Cup with an ankle injury and then missed the Triple Crown with a fractured cannon bone.
Brendan Walsh (trainer): “He was a little fresh tonight, so maybe he was a little more aggressive than normal. I don’t think he’s a deep closer by any means. He’s a stronger horse this year and I think we can ride him more prominently. All options are open – we will see how he comes out of the race, talk it over with the team at Godolphin and figure out the best plan going forward.”