Baffert, with top two choices, seeks 5th straight CashCall win

IM­PROB­A­BLE COULD GIVE TRAINER FIFTH STRAIGHT FUTURITY, BAFFERT TIME

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - Front Page - By Jay Priv­man

Bob Baffert is prov­ing you can go home again. He first made his mark as a horse trainer with Quar­ter Horses at Los Alami­tos, and he’ll re­turn there Satur­day to try and con­tinue his dom­i­na­tion of the Grade 1, $300,000 CashCall Futurity, a race he has won 10 times in its last 21 run­nings, in­clud­ing all four since it was switched to Los Alami­tos.

For­merly known as the Hol­ly­wood Futurity, the race was moved to Los Alami­tos af­ter Hol­ly­wood Park closed. Dort­mund, Mor Spirit, Mas­tery, and McKinzie have given Baffert a sweep of the Futurity since Los Alami­tos took possession of it, and he’ll have the top two choices Satur­day in the un­beaten colts Im­prob­a­ble and Mu­cho Gusto, who head a field of six 2-yearolds go­ing 1 1/16 miles.

Im­prob­a­ble has been odd­son in both of his starts and fig­ures to go fa­vored. He won his de­but go­ing six fur­longs at Santa Anita on Sept. 29, then cap­tured the Street Sense Stakes, a one-turn mile, at Churchill Downs on Nov. 2, the same day Baffert won the Breed­ers’ Cup Ju­ve­nile with Game Win­ner. Dray­den Van Dyke has rid­den him in both starts and is back aboard.

“He didn’t get away re­ally well,” Baffert said of the Street Sense. “He’s got­ten a lot of school­ing in his races. Dray­den rides him with a lot of con­fi­dence. He didn’t panic last time. He found a seam.”

Im­prob­a­ble bounded clear for a 7 1/2-length vic­tory in the Street Sense, earn­ing a Beyer Speed Fig­ure of 93. He has worked four times since the Street Sense, in­clud­ing a five­fur­long drill at Santa Anita on Mon­day in 59.80 sec­onds that was the best of 67 at the dis­tance.

“He’s got a great stride, re­ally reaches way out there,” said Baffert. “Same kind of stride as Jus­tify.”

Mu­cho Gusto also is un­beaten in two starts. He owns a win at Los Alami­tos that came in his de­but against maid­ens go­ing six fur­longs on Sept. 20, and then three weeks ago he scored a front-run­ning win in the Grade 3 Bob Hope go­ing seven fur­longs at Del Mar.

“He’s gutty,” Baffert said. “He won’t wow you in the morn­ing. He’s com­ing back quick. He’s worked well.”

Mu­cho Gusto has had two works since the Bob Hope, in­clud­ing a five-fur­long drill in 1:00 on Mon­day at Santa Anita that was the third-fastest of 67 at the dis­tance.

The Baffert run­ners book­end the field, with Im­prob­a­ble on the rail, Mu­cho Gusto on the out­side in post 6.

Both Im­prob­a­ble and Mu­cho Gusto will be try­ing two turns for the first time. Both have some breed­ing for it. Im­prob­a­ble, by City Zip, is out of an A.P. Indy mare, while Mu­cho Gusto is a son of Breed­ers’ Cup Clas­sic win­ner Mu­cho Ma­cho Man.

There are four oth­ers try­ing to stop Baffert’s duo.

Duel­ing, who has raced four times, all for trainer Jerry Hol­len­dor­fer, was sixth last time out in the Breed­ers’ Cup Ju­ve­nile af­ter de­feat­ing maid­ens at Santa Anita go­ing a mile. He has proven he can go two turns.

King of Speed, a two-time stakes win­ner go­ing long on grass, moves back to dirt for trainer Jeff Bonde af­ter fin­ish­ing 12th on a deep course he de­spised in the Breed­ers’ Cup Ju­ve­nile Turf at Churchill Downs.

Sav­agery, trained by Peter Miller, fin­ished 1 1/2 lengths be­hind Mu­cho Gusto when sec­ond in the Bob Hope.

Ex­tra Hope was fourth to Duel­ing in a maiden race at Santa Anita on Sept. 28 and sub­se­quently beat maid­ens at Santa Anita go­ing 1 1/16 miles when trainer Richard Man­della added blink­ers. He was fourth last time out in the Bob Hope and should ap­pre­ci­ate a re­turn to two turns.

Not only is the Futurity the last Grade 1 race of the year for 2-year-old males, it also of­fers points to­ward a berth in next spring’s Ken­tucky Derby, with 10 points go­ing to the win­ner.

De­spite the suc­cess of the re­cent run of win­ners, which also in­cludes 2013 ju­ve­nile cham­pion Shared Be­lief, the Futurity was re­cently down­graded to a Grade 2 for the 2019 edi­tion.

“Pretty dis­ap­point­ing,” said Baffert of the Futurity’s de­mo­tion. “It’s such an im­por­tant race.”

The Futurity is race 5 on a nine-race card that be­gins at 12:30 p.m. Pa­cific and also in­cludes, two races later, the Grade 1, $300,000 Star­let for 2-year-old fil­lies.

BAR­BARA D. LIV­INGSTON

BAR­BARA D. LIV­INGSTON

Mu­cho Gusto’s wins in­clude a six-fur­long maiden at Los Alami­tos and the Bob Hope at Santa Anita.

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