Del Mar Futurity-bound Eight Rings has Starlight excited

August 21, 2019 09:23am

Starlight Racing co-principal Jack Wolf says his group “has a few bullets out there” as 2-year-olds working under Bob Baffert at Del Mar.

It's Eight Rings who “looks to be the best so far,” Wolf recently said.

“You get a horse that runs like that with the numbers he had the first race, it gets you pretty excited as you well can imagine,” Wolf said.

Starlight West and SF Bloodstock purchased the Kentucky-bred Empire Maker colt last year for $520,000 at the Keeneland Association September Yearling Sale.

A partnership of SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Frederick Hertich III, John D. Fielding and Golconda Stables now campaign Eight Rings.

The Baffert-trained Eight Rings debuted Aug. 4 in maiden special weight company at Del Mar.
  Under jockey Drayden Van Dyke, the colt took the lead in the turn of a 5 ½-furlong sprint, kicked clear and drew off to rout a six-horse field by 6 ¼ lengths.

Eight Rings earned a 94 Beyer figure for that performance, the second best any 2-year-old has recorded this season.
  Only Dennis’ Moment’s 97 Beyer from July 27 at Ellis Park sits above Eight Rings in the division.

“It’s just the way he’s handled every part – the way he behaved at the sale, the way he went through the breaking process and then obviously his first win out there,” Wolf said. “He’s a very professional, well-bred horse. Hopefully he’ll get better with better with bigger distance.”

Eight Rings’ name is a tribute to Bill Belichick, Baffert said last week in an interview posted by the Breeders’ Cup publicity team.

Owner Sol Kumin of Madaket Stables is a friend of the New England Patriots head coach, who’s a racing enthusiast. Belichick owns eight Super Bowl rings – six with New England, two as a New York Giants assistant.

After his eye-catching debut, Eight Rings is likely to be favored Sept. 2 at seven furlongs in the Grade 1, $300,000 Del Mar Futurity.

That stake’s recent winners include 2018 champion 2-year-old male Game Winner, 2016 Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist and 2015 Triple Crown hero American Pharoah. Baffert horses have won the Del Mar Futurity a remarkable 14 times since 1996.

Wolf also mentioned Hydrogen and Mo Hawk as two more high-priced Starlight freshmen working under Baffert.

SF and Starlight West purchased Hydrogen for $575,000 last year at the Fasig-Tipton New York Saratoga Select Yearling Sale.
 The Violence colt debuted Saturday at Del Mar, running third of 10 under jockey John Velazquez in a six-furlong maiden special weight race.

Mo Hawk went for $925,000 to SF Bloodstock and Starlight West last year at the Keeneland Association September Yearling Sale.
 The son of Uncle Mo is still waiting to debut but has impressed in training, going five furlongs handily from the gate Saturday at Del Mar in a bullet 59.8 seconds.

“We have high hopes for him – beautiful horse,” Baffert said.


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