Gem, Inc.'s J P's Gusto, the 4-5 betting choice ridden by
Patrick Valenzuela, staked his claim as one of America's best two-year-olds with an impressive triumph
Wednesday in the Grade I $250,000 Del Mar Futurity before a crowd of 12,252 on
the final day of Del Mar's summer season of Thoroughbred racing.
Prominent from the start of the seven-furlong sprint for
juveniles, J P's Gusto, winner of the Best Pal Stakes early this season, shook loose
at the top of the stretch, responded generously to Valenzuela's urging and
pulled away authoritatively to win by
4 1/2 lengths in 1:22.95.
Jaycito, a 19-1 longshot, rallied strongly to be second, 3 1/4
lengths ahead of Riveting Reason and Indian Winter who deadheated for third in
the field of eleven.
J P's Gusto, a son of Successful Appeal conditioned by David
Hofmans, was scoring his fourth victory in five starts, all in stakes. His only
loss came in his career debut, a maiden race at Hollywood Park. First money of
$150,000 increased the colt's earnings to $337,360. He was purchased for
$52,000 at the 2009 Keeneland September Sale of Yearlings by Dr. John Waken of
J P's Gusto, whose other stakes wins were in the Willard
Proctor Memorial and Hollywood Juvenile Championship, returned $3.60, $3 and
$2.40. Runner-up Jaycito paid $14 and $7.80, while the deadheaters Riveting
Reason and Indian Winter returned $4.60 and $2.40 to show, respectively.
For Valenzuela, J P's Gusto capped an incredible comeback.
Absent from California racing since the end of 2007, the 47-year-old jockey won
29 races at Del Mar this summer, outdone only by the dueling Joel Rosario and
Rafael Bejarano. He won the Del Mar
Futurity 20 years ago aboard the great California-bred gelding, Best
Pal, a Hall of Fame inductee this summer.
Rosario, who began closing day trailing Bejarano, 54-53,
booted in four winners Wednesday to clinch his second straight title at the
seaside track. Into the tenth and final race of the season, the two were tied
at 56 as Bejarano had doubled earlier in the afternoon.
The championship came down to the final strides of the mile
and one-sixteenth turf race as Rosario got favored Tiz Argent up to edge out
Sammartino and Valenzuela by a head with Bejarano only another half-length back
in third place aboard Papa Lev.
In supporting features Wednesday, Fund Raiser, ridden
by Rosario, scored by a
half-length in the $78,175 C.E.R.F. Stakes for older fillies and mares, while
Gato Go Win, with Bejarano in the
saddle, won the $80,175 Pirate's Bounty Stakes for older horses.
Fund Raiser, owned by Arnold Zetcher and trained by Bob
Baffert, ran six furlongs in 1:10.01 and returned $8.80 while earning $46,905.
Holding Her Ground was second and Minute Limit third.
Gato Go Win, representing owners Joey Platts and Jack Sims
and trained by Robert Troeger, scored by a half-length over Spaniard, with
Truest Legend third Dancing in Silks, making his first start since winning the
2009 Breeders' Cup Sprint, was fourth as the 6-5 favorite.
Gato Go Win earned $47,295 and paid $11.20 for his upset.