Weekend Rewind: What to Make of the Futurity and Starlet?

December 11, 2017 02:51am

Another weekend in the books brings us another step closer to the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks. But from a pair of Grade 1 stakes for 2-year-olds, I can’t say that I was excited by what I saw.

Los Alamitos hosted the 
CashCall Futurity and Starlet on Saturday, with a paltry nine horses in the fields combined. By comparison, 18 juveniles were featured in the Remsen Stakes (G2) and Demoiselle Stakes (G2) last weekend, while the Golden Rod (G2) and Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) featured 26 total entries.

When field sizes are low, I hope to be wowed by the winners, but that unfortunately wasn't the case here. Starlet winner 
Dream Tree, by Uncle Mo, won well enough, edging away from Yesterday’s News down the long Los Alamitos stretch. The final margin of victory was 3 ¼ lengths, but the final time of 1:43.87 won’t turn any heads, especially when the closing splits of :30.59 for the final 5/16th were just average, despite an easy pace.

The bumper car match that was the Cash Call Futurity was only marginally better. With a pace much stiffer, none of the three contenders were able to handle it when it came to crunch time.

Instilled Regard
made a mild move, but after being bumped by Solomini and McKinzie, he flattened out. Solomini, who crossed the wire first, was disquailfied after it was ruled he impeded a rival. Despite having made four prior starts, Solomini still appeared greenly in the lane, shying away from right-handed urging -- a habit that he’ll need to break if he has any hope of becoming a legitimate Kentucky Derby threat.

McKinzie was the least tested of the trio in a blanket finish and was awarded a win having crossed second in a photo. His inexperience showed after he set the blistering pace, then slowed to finish his final 5/16
th in over 32 seconds. He will need to do much better next time on the Derby trail.

Los Alamitos’ signature juvenile races were the last major races we'll see for the crop before the horses turn 3 on Jan. 1. While nice horses have run elsewhere at age 2, I’m not enthusiastic about the prospects of those coming out of the Futurity and Starlet.


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Meet Laura Pugh

Laura Pugh got her first taste of Thoroughbred racing when she watched War Emblem take the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2002. At that point, she fell in love with the sport, reading every piece of news and information she could get her fingertips on.

Laura has a long history with horses in general, taking her first ride on her fifth birthday, with her first official riding lesson when she was eight years old. Both years she attended college, she joined her school’s equestrian team, first at Virginia Intermont College and then again at Delaware State University. Unfortunately, after back and shoulder injuries, she had to hang up her saddle. 

In 2010, Laura began writing for Horse Racing Nation and has also contributed to Lady and the Track, TwinSpires and USRacing. She currently works at a local newspaper as a community reporter.

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