Los Al Futurity 2022: Baffert has 3 of 5 in Ky. Derby prep

Los Al Futurity 2022: Baffert has 3 of 5 in Ky. Derby prep
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Los Alamitos Futurity is the track's only points prep for the 2023 Kentucky Derby. The 1 1/16-mile contest attracted a field of five 2-year-olds and offers 10-4-3-2-1 points to the top five Derby-eligible finishers. Post time is 5 p.m. EST.

See who is fastest early with the Pace Report

The Futurity moved to Los Alamitos from Hollywood Park in 2014, and Bob Baffert trained every winner at Los Al until Slow Down Andy stopped his streak of victories last year. At both locations combined, Baffert won the Futurity 13 times, beginning in 1997 with Real Quiet and most recently with Speilberg in 2020.

Baffert's entries are ineligible for Derby points because he is under suspension from Churchill Downs because of the late Medina Spirit's positive drug test from the 2021 Kentucky Derby. The points that would have been earned by his horses will be vacated.

Here is a full-field analysis for the Los Al Futurity with the morning-line odds provided by the Horse Racing Nation staff. This Grade 2 is scheduled as race 4 of 10.

1. Tall Boy (15-1 Lookin At Lucky Leandro Moro / Umberto Rispoli – 3: 0-1-1 - $20,600) This Calumet Farms runner is still a maiden after three starts at Del Mar. His most recent race was three weeks ago when he finished third in a sprint. Long-time assistant Leandro Moro fills in for Doug O’Neill, who is serving a suspension. Toss.

Carmel Road (7-2 Quality Road – Bob Baffert / Juan Hernandez – 3: 1-0-1 - $65,100) In his second start at Del Mar in August, Carmel Road broke his maiden as the favorite with a gate-to-wire victory by almost nine lengths against a field of 10. In October’s Breeders’ Futurity (G1), he was never in contention after breaking from the 14 post position in a salty field led by Forte. Carmel Road sold for $650,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. Use underneath.

Fort Bragg
(3-2 Tapit Bob Baffert / Flavien Prat – 3: 1-1-1 - $58,400) Fort Bragg broke his maiden in his third start on the front end going two turns as the odds-on favorite last month at Santa Anita. He finished first in his prior start but caused interference in the stretch and was moved to second. He was a $700,000 yearling purchase at the Fasig-Tipton October sale. Blinkers come off. Use underneath.

Practical Move (5-1 Practical Joke Tim Yakteen / Ramon Vasquez – 4: 1-1-2 - $74,200) Practical Joke broke his maiden in his third try at Santa Anita in October after a second and a third at the Del Mar summer meeting. That victory came after Fort Bragg was disqualified for bumping Practical Joke, who had rallied from fifth and finished a neck behind in the mile contest. Last month in the seven-furlong Bob Hope (G3), he was third behind a pair of Baffert runners who are preparing for other races. He will run without blinkers. Use underneath.

5. Arabian Lion (8-5 Justify Bob Baffert / John Velazquez – 2: 1-1-0 - $66,600) Arabian Lion was a typical Baffert first-time starter who won easily on the front end as an odds-on favorite. In his second start at Keeneland in a seven-furlong allowance, he was less than a length behind the winner and was far ahead of the rest of the field. Giant Mischief, who won that allowance, will be the favorite in the Springboard Mile. The son of Justify sold for $600,000 in April at Ocala. Top choice.

Summary: With three entered in this five-horse field, Bob Baffert is likely to win the Los Al Futurity for the 14th time. Arabian Lion broke his maiden in the style of the better Baffert 2-year-olds with a visually impressive front-running effort as the odds-on favorite. He lost his second start to an unbeaten Brad Cox runner. He will be the top choice.

Tim Yakteen’s Practical Move has the best chance to prevent the Baffert horses from sweeping the exacta and trifecta.

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