Del Mar Race Report: Suds on the Beach

Del Mar Race Report: Suds on the Beach
Photo: Benoit Photos
Icecoldbeeratreds led a Bob Baffert-trained superfecta in the Del Mar Futurity.
Published in the Sept. 21 issue of The Blood-Horse
Most of the top Southern California trainers had already departed Del Mar for the Keeneland yearling sale, and the horses that summered by the beach were back in Los Angeles. But if there's one guy who figures to be the last one standing around the party keg, it's Mike Pegram, and so it should be no surprise that his Icecoldbeeratreds chugged down the $250,000 Del Mar Futurity (gr. II) Sept. 11 in his most impressive performance to date.

Even less surprising is the name of conditioner Bob Baffert beside the winner. The white-haired wizard, who nailed down his sixth consecutive Del Mar training title, captured the Futurity for the seventh straight year (Officer, Flame Thrower, Forest Camp, Worldly Manner, Souvenir Copy, and Silver Charm). They might as well rename the race the Baffertity.

If you figured the winner was named for a sudsfest across the street from Del Mar at Red Tracton's restaurant, you're absolutely correct. "We were watching the Holiday Bowl and we got to naming horses that night and somebody handed me a cold beer," Pegram said. "I thought that would make a good name for a racehorse."

And the California-bred son of In Excess, out of the Crafty Prospector mare Guilded Times, looks every bit a racehorse. After trouncing state-bred company in his first outing, he returned to take the restricted Graduation Stakes early in the Del Mar meet. When he came back three weeks ago in the Best Pal (gr. III), Icecoldbeeratreds did all the early running for the third straight time, but faded to finish fifth behind Kafwain, Chief Planner, and Outta Here, all of whom were back to contest the Futurity. Baffert said the track was tiring on Best Pal day, but the betting public climbed off Icecoldbeeratreds for the Futurity, making him fourth choice at 5-1.

The winner shot right to the lead once again, aided by favorite Bull Market's slow getaway. Bull Market was steadied soon after the start, then rushed up the rail to briefly share front-running duties three furlongs from home. It was a calamitous trip and a probable toss out for the Holy Bull colt. Friendly Mike sat in the garden spot third. David Flores, on Icecoldbeeratreds, allowed his colt to duel with Bull Market for the length of the turn, then put him away at the top of the stretch.

The next challenge came from Kafwain on the inside, but Icecoldbeeratreds spurted on again at the sixteenth pole and pulled away to win the seven-furlong race by two lengths in 1:22.94. Kafwain held second, with the late-running Chief Planner up for third, and Friendly Mike an even fourth. All four, plus Bull Market, who faded to sixth, are trained by Baffert. The $150,000 payday raised Icecoldbeeratreds' earnings to $253,800.

Pegram, who owns a string of McDonald's, bred the winner as well. He breeds between 10 and 12 horses a year, with the runners eventually going to Baffert. "When we retire one from the track, we breed it," Pegram said. "That's about how the operation goes." Pegram is, of course, well known for winning the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness (gr. I) with Real Quiet, and racing such standouts as dual-champion Silverbulletday and millionaire Captain Steve.

Ironically, Baffert was in Kentucky in part to buy some horses for Pegram at the Keeneland auction, and watched the Futurity on television. "It's nice to win it again. Icecoldbeeratreds is probably best at one turn, and I'd like to keep him sprinting," Baffert said. "The others will go to the Norfolk (gr. II, Oct. 5 at Oak Tree at Santa Anita). Eventually they'll sort themselves out." Look for the winner in a race on Cal Cup Day at Oak Tree.

As for Pegram, even though the seaside meeting expired two races after the Futurity, there was time for one last soiree. "Isn't this a nice way to end Del Mar?" he asked. "For six straight years I had to sit here and watch Baffert win this race for someone else. I was wondering when it was my turn."

If you figured the post-race party went back up the street to Red Tracton's, you are correct again, sir. b

(Chart, Equibase)

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