2021 Los Alamitos Futurity Offers Kentucky Derby Points
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert will send out Barossa and Messier as he tries to capture his eighth consecutive victory in the Grade 2, $300,000 Los Alamitos Futurity Saturday, December 11.
The 1 1/16 mile contest at Los Alamitos Race Course for 2-year-olds is the ninth of 10 races on the next-to-last day of the Winter Thoroughbred meet at Los Alamitos.
Post time Saturday is 12 Noon. Scheduled post time for the Futurity is 3:58 p.m.
Won in the past by stars such as Snow Chief, A.P. Indy, Best Pal, Real Quiet, Point Given, Lookin At Lucky and Shared Belief, the Los Alamitos Futurity is part of the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" series. The winner Saturday will receive 10 points (10-4-2-1 scale) towards securing a spot in the starting gate next May at Churchill Downs.
The Futurity will be run for the eigth time at Los Alamitos after having its first 33 renewals at Hollywood Park (1981-2013).
From inside out, the field for the Los Alamitos Futurity: Olympic Legend, Jose Valdivia, Jr. rides, 120 pounds; Durante, Umberto Rispoli, 120; Messier, Flavien Prat, 120; Barossa, Juan Hernandez, 120 and Slow Down Andy, Mario Gutierrez, 120.
||Jose Valdivia, Jr.
||Slow Down Andy
Baffert, who has won each of the Los Alamitos Futurities offered at Los Alamitos since daytime Thoroughbred racing returned in 2014, trains Messier for a partnership that includes Golconda Stable, Madaket Stables LLC, SF Racing LLC, Siena Farm LLC, Starlight Racing, Waves Edge Capital, Catherine Donovan, Robert Masterson and Jay Schoenfarber.
A son of Empire Maker and the Smart Strike mare Cherokee Past has won two of three and earned $105,600. After finishing second as the odds-on favorite in his debut June 27 at Los Alamitos, the Canadian bred has gone back-to-back, prevailing by a combined 10 lengths. In his most recent appearance, Messier won the Grade 3 Bob Hope by three lengths Nov. 14.
An Into Mischief colt out of the Flower Alley mare Bouquet Booth, Barossa, who has the same ownership group as Messier, finished ninth of 11 in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Nov. 5.
He's won once in four starts and earned $69,200. He broke his maiden at eight furlongs two starts back at Santa Anita.
Trainer Doug O'Neill, who was second in the 2020 Futurity with The Great One, will be represented by Durante and Slow Down Andy.
A son of Distorted Humor and the Pioneerof the Nile mare Seahawk Girl, Durante graduated as the 1-2 favorite in his most recent start at one mile Nov. 14. He's earned $54,700 in three outings for Roadrunner Racing and William Strauss.
A California bred son of Nyquist and the Square Eddie mare Edwina E, Slow Down Andy is 1-for-2 for owner-breeder J. Paul Reddam's Reddam Racing LLC. The chestnut colt won by nearly five lengths in his debut Oct. 9, then was second as the 11-10 favorite in the Golden State Juvenile four weeks later. He's banked $69,850.
Completing the field is Olympic Legend, a Street Boss colt out of the Mingun mare Brilliant Future.
Owned by breeders Lawrence Opas and Frank Sinatra and trained by Luis Mendez, Olympic Legend is the only member of the field with a win at Los Alamitos. He upset a field that included Messier when nearly 11-1 June 27. He's been idle since finishing a distant third in the Capote Stakes locally Sept. 18.
Olympic Legend is 1-for-4 with earnings of $38,500.
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Los Alamitos Futurity Stakes Race History
The Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) might be North America's championship-defining race for 2-year-old Thoroughbreds, but it isn't hard to argue the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) has been the more productive race when it comes to launching Triple Crown contenders.
Inaugurated in 1981 at the now-defunct Hollywood Park, the race was originally known as the Hollywood Futurity, receiving its current name when the race moved to Los Alamitos in 2014. Regardless of its name or location, the Los Alamitos Futurity has been cranking out high-class runners for decades.
We can thank Gato Del Sol and Laser Light for putting the Futurity on the map. Although they could only finish seventh and ninth in the race's inaugural edition, they returned to run 1-2 in the 1982 Kentucky Derby, establishing the Futurity as a viable prep for the spring classics.
Others quickly followed their example. Ferdinand and Alysheba were both beaten in the Futurity, but scored back-to-back Kentucky Derby victories in 1986-87. Futurity runner-up Thunder Gulch likewise nabbed Derby glory in 1995, while Real Quiet became the first to sweep both races when he upset the 1998 Kentucky Derby. Even the improbable Giacomo, 50-1 winner of the 2005 Kentucky Derby, had stamped his Derby credentials with a second-place finish in the Futurity.
The ongoing impact of the Futurity can be attributed in part to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who won the race a dozen times between 1997 and 2019. Many of Bafferts victors have gone on to win or place in Triple Crown races, including Point Given (winner of the 2001 Preakness and Belmont Stakes) and Lookin at Lucky (victorious in the 2010 Preakness).
But even beyond Baffert's brigade, the list of Futurity winners reads like a "who's who" of Grade 1 winners, champions, classic winners, and/or Hall of Fame inductees, including Stephans Odyssey, Snow Chief, Best Pal, A.P. Indy, and Shared Belief.
Although the Los Alamitos Futurity was lowered from Grade 1 to Grade 2 status in 2019, it remains a prominent steppingstone on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, offering qualification points to the top four finishers on a sliding 10-4-2-1 scale.