Handicapping the Del Mar Futurity

Handicapping the Del Mar Futurity
Photo: Kazushi Ishida/Eclipse Sportswire
The Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity is one of the premiere events for two-year-old colts on the West Coast. The race is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge contest, which means the victor of the Del Mar Futurity is assured a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile starting gate. Since 2000, two horses, Stevie Wonderboy and Midshipman, have pulled of the Del Mar Futurity/BC Juvenile double. In 2009, Lookin At Lucky won the Futurity, but was an unlucky second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.  A year later, he won the Preakness.
This year, nine youngsters have been entered in the seven furlong contest. Once again, Pedigree Power's Laurie Ross and From Coast to Coast's Ashley Tamulonis have teamed up to pick apart this field of juveniles and figure out who will be celebrating a holiday and who will be left home alone.
American Pharoah—(Pioneerof the Nile - Littleprincessemma, by Yankee Gentleman) showed speed in the early stages of his debut, but tired badly to fifth, beaten by over nine lengths. He draws the rail, which has been a good winning post position in sprints.  The colt adds blinkers and he worked a pre-race bullet, but Pioneerof The Nile offspring are 0-8 on the Del Mar Poly and Garcia sticks with stablemate Holiday Camp.  Have to respect Baffert, as he’s won this race 11 times.  Maybe he’ll stick around for the exotics.
American Pharoah—When a jockey plays musical horses right before an important race, I tend to sit up and take notice. Like Laurie pointed out, the rail draw and addition of blinkers is favorable, but his debut was anything but impressive. Baffert does warrant respect, but I have to go with the "other" Baffert colt. Pass.
Oh Newman—(Munnings - Missannalouise, by Storm Creek) was off slow in his debut, but made up ground over the speed-favoring track to finish third, beaten barely a length by Inexcess Time. Freshman sire Munnings is a superior polysire. Oh Newman is a half to Little Jerry (Candy Ride) and heworked a sharp pre-race 3F out of the gate, so he should be on top of things this time.  Contender.
Oh Newman—Is probably better than what he was able to show in his debut. Not only did he break slowly, he was also fractious in the gate and was pinched back at the start. That's a lot of trouble for a youngster to run into in his first race, and I must confess that that makes me a bit wary. Was all that trouble a one time affair or will this colt end up being the type that always manages to find trouble and be his own worst enemy? It'll take a few races to figure that out, but for now, I'm willing to give him another shot. Contender.
Inexcess Time—(Indian Charlie - My Time Now, by Unbridled) went five wide on the turn, but still got up to score his maiden win by ½ length.  He should love the extra distance.  The colt has breezed well since his last race.  The jockey swap continues. Elvis jumps off of him to ride Calculator while Joe Talamo takes over. Contender.
Inexcess Time—Has two nice races under his belt. He was beaten by less than 2 lengths in his debut, and then rebounded smartly to score by 1/2 a length in his last outing despite being hung wide. I like his work pattern since his last race, but I don't like that Trujillo hopped off him and opted to ride Calculator instead. Regardless, the colt obviously likes the Del Mar track, so I see this one getting a piece of it. Contender.
Calculator—(In Summation - Back to Basics, by Alphabet Soup) has been slow to put it all together. Iron Fist beat him a length in his last race, The runaway winner Om, hasn’t been seen since, and the third place finisher, One Lucky Dane, was second in his last start, so who knows how strong that races was. This doesn’t add up for me, so I’m subtracting him from my picks.
Calculator—I think Laurie summed this one up nicely. Still a maiden after two starts, I just can't see this one getting it together enough to best this field. Pass.
Iron Fist—(Tapit - Successful Outlook, by Orientate) has been off slow in both starts. He was best of the rest in his last start and owns the second highest late pace speed figure in the field. The extra distance should suit but if he’s slow off of the mark again this time, he’ll really need to step up his game.  The pretty gray colt is a half to Test (G-1) heroine SWEET LULU (Mr. Greeley).  Mike Smith sticks with him.
Iron Fist—Sweet Lulu was one of my favorite filly sprinters, so I may have just a bit of a bias toward Iron Fist. He has two heavy hitters in his corner in trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and jockey Mike Smith, and there's no denying that Tapit has been one hot sire. Smith has been aboard Iron Fist for all of his career starts, and I feel pretty confident that he has figured out what will work and what won't work for his mount. The extra distance will likely help, but I don't know how much help he will get from the pace scenario. Exotics.
Henry’s Holiday—(Harlan's Holiday - Ford Gallop, by Victory Gallop) closed for second place, beaten only 1 ¼ lengths by Skyway in the Best Pal.  With Belmont Stakes winner VICTORY GALLOP and Triple Crown runner up ALYDAR found in his distaff line, Henry’s Holiday should love stretching out. Contender.
Henry’s Holiday—Is battle tested and will looking to turn the tables on Skyway after losing to that one in the Grade 2 Best Pal. I tend to agree with Laurie's assessment overall. Contender.
Red Button—(Distorted Humor - Skipping Around, by Skip Trial) showed improvement in his second start, rating off of the pace before making his move to win by ½ length.  He’s a half-brother to the Grade 1 winner SUGAR SHAKE (Awesome Again) and stakes placed Explosive Heat (Touch Gold). Baze sticks with Henry’s Holiday, so Bejarano picks up the mount.  I’d like this guy, but the Mark Glatt barn is 0-22 in graded stakes wins.
Red Button—Apparently liked the switch from traditional dirt to polytrack. The Glatt barn may be 0-22 in graded stakes races, but it's hard to ignore improving numbers. Besides, there's a first time for everything, and any trainer that has graded stakes wins once stood where Glatt stands. I have to at least consider him for exotics.
Holiday Camp—(Street Boss - Albany County, by Forest Wildcat) had an eventful trip in the Santa Anita Juvenile Stakes after being squeezed at the start, he fell back and didn’t do much running after that. He’s had a few months off and comes back for Baffert. Garcia probably had his pick between American Pharaoh, Oh Newman and this guy. Guess who he chose?  Contender.
Holiday Camp—Looks to be the lone speed in this race. That coupled with the fact that Garcia had his choice and chose him speaks volumes about what he could potentially do in this spot. Pace makes the race, and if Holiday Camp gets the easy lead that I think he will, it could be game over. Contender.
Skyway—(Sky Mesa - Bedside Manner, by Dr. Blum) winners of the Best Pal Stakes have fared well in the Del Mar Futurity. In the last seven years, eight colts have won/placed in both races.  Skyway is the class of the Del Mar Futurity and the one to beat.  He’s a half to multiple stakes winner AVA K.  (Dixie Union).  Skyway should get a good stalking trip from his outside post. Contender.
Skyway—Well traveled Skyway is the class of the field, having won the Best Pal and placed third in the Bashford Manor after an eventful trip. He's perfect on synthetics, and the John Oxley/Mark Casse combination is a potent one. Contender.

Oddly, there’s very little speed in here considering that this is a juvenile race held in California. In the last ten years, six front runners/pace pressers won the Del Mar Futurity, while four mid-pack runners and two closers were victorious.
Laurie: AMERICAN PHAROAH has speed from the rail. These types don’t normally last at seven furlongs. He may be pressed by his own stablemate HOLIDAY CAMP, INEXCESS TIME, and SKYWAY. Unless the pace is lively, the closers may have a tough time. OH NEWMAN and HENRY'S HOLIDAY should be considered.
#3  INEXCESS TIME – longshot pick
Ashley: I see things developing a little differently. I think HOLIDAY CAMP will gun for the lead from his outside post. AMERICAN PHAROAH, INEXCESS TIME and SKYWAY will likely press the pace, but I don’t see any of them putting up a real fight for the lead. Left alone, I can see Holiday Camp attempting a wire job, but he will have to bring his A++ game in order to fend off Skyway and HENRY'S HOLIDAY in the stretch.
#8 Holiday Camp
#9 Skyway
#6 Henry’s Holiday
#2 Oh Newman – longshot pick 

Meet Ashley Tamulonis

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, which led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation covering racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues and, from time to time, offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry. A move North to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the From Coast to Coast blog for HRN. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband, Chris, and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.

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